Obama, Putin Discuss Syria And Ukraine at Summit in Peru

LIMA, Peru (AP) -
President Barack Obama, (L), talks with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin at the opening session of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Lima, Peru, on Sunday. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Barack Obama, (L), talks with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin at the opening session of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Lima, Peru, on Sunday. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Barack Obama spoke briefly with Russian President Vladimir Putin about Syria and Ukraine on Sunday as an economic summit got under way in Peru, in their first known conversation since Donald Trump was elected the next U.S. president.

The two leaders were seen chatting at the start of the opening session of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Lima. They stood off to the side together momentarily with aides close by before shaking hands and then taking their seats around a table.

The White House said the conversation lasted four minutes.

Although reporters present couldn’t hear what they said, the White House said Obama encouraged Putin to uphold his country’s commitments under the Minsk deal aimed at ending the Ukraine conflict. Both the White House and the Kremlin said the leaders had agreed that Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov should keep working on initiatives to lower violence in Syria and alleviate suffering. The short interaction came amid intense speculation and concern about whether Trump’s election might herald a more conciliatory U.S. approach to Russia.