President Barack Obama is to meet with the Russia President Vladimir Putin in New York next week to discuss the crisis in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
There is a disagreement on the topics that would get priority in the discussion with the White House wanting to focus on the tension in eastern Ukraine where Russia has stationed forces to defy the government in Kiev, while Kremlin insists to talk about the civil war in Syria where Putin has stationed combat aircrafts and tanks to support Syrian President Bashar al-Asad.
According to Reuters, Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman stated that “Of course, the primary topic will be Syria,” and added that they would discuss Ukraine “If time allows.” On the other hand, White House spokesman Josh Earnest during a briefing in Washington stated “There will be time” and added that there is a possibility of a “major announcement” after the meeting.
The U.S. aim of the meeting is to ensure that Russia will keep the promise of ceasefire in the Ukraine that was negotiated in Belarus last February. America and Russia have been in cold relations ever since Russia annexed Ukrainian Crimea and stationed military troops in Eastern Ukraine, as well as Russian-backed separatists from Ukraine. This led to the United States and other European countries to impose economic sanctions on Russia for not respecting international law.
The United States also accused Russia of building two additional military bases in Latakia, Syria and providing weapons, supplies and troops to fight in support of Asad. U.S. officials say that they hope for a negotiation for a settlement of the Syrian four year civil war without leaving Asad in power.
According to Reuters, during a CBS’s 60 Minutes interview Putin said that the only way to combat terrorism in Syria is to “strengthen effective government structures.”
Both of the leaders will be present at the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly on Monday in New York to address the Assembly and according to Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov, the meeting between Obama and Putin will be held after the U.N. Assembly conference.
According to Reuters, Sheba Crocker, the assistant secretary for international organization affairs at a State Department meeting said that the United States hope for further political talks and solutions about Syria at other General Assembly meetings, but also said that the United States would not approve of a United Nations Security Council proposal by Russia on countering terrorism, because that would only send the wrong message to American allies who are fighting against ISIS militant groups in Syria.
After not seeing each other for a year, the two leaders are expected to meet on Monday on the request of Russian President Vladimir Putin. President Obama has agreed to meet with Putin because he is the only decision maker in Russia and basically the Ukraine and Syria depend largely by him.