The U.S. President Barack Obama is set to meet face-to-face with Russian leader Vladimir Putin to consider ways to solve the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria. The session will take place next week on Monday during the U.N. General Assembly meeting.
Josh Earnest, the press secretary for the White House, said that the appointment was Putin’s idea, and Obama is going to pay particular attention to Ukrainian issue because of “clear violation of the territorial integrity” of Ukrainian sovereign nation from Russia’s side. Despite efforts by the White House to apply harsh economic and diplomatic sanctions, Putin has still considerable influence on the world stage. Obama is also concerned about Syrian issue and Russian military involvement in there.
Earnest said that Obama would ask Russia to join the efforts of the coalition and to combat the Islamic State, instead of supporting the Assad regime and alienating the whole world. The meeting will give Vladimir Putin an opportunity to show Russia’s willingness to confront Islamic extremism. The White House hopes that the negotiators will be able to discuss Russia’s decision to send military reinforcements to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Russia’s violation of a Minsk cease-fire accord.
At the same time, the Obama administration feels some distrust of the Putin’s claims—officials think that Russia can be double-dealing. They are unsure of Moscow’s intentions: Russians either try to save Assad in power or they are ready to cooperate with the U.S. and jettison the Syrian President. By Obama Administration’s officials, the meeting will help Obama get a better understanding of Russia’s leader objectives on both issues. Anyway, the U.S. President is ready for “the same old”, said Stephen Sestanovich, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
It will be the first one-on-one session between Putin and Obama in more than fifteen months. Their last meeting was continuing for just 15 minutes. On Thursday the U.S. President has finally decided to accept Putin’s offer to sit down with him at the negotiating table in New York on Monday. The leaders were speaking by phone in July, right after an agreement between six world powers and Iran to limit Iran nuclear program was reached.