Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold talks with his US counterpart, Barack Obama, during his stay at the UN General Assembly, Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin press secretary, said.
“A meeting with Obama has been coordinated,” Peskov said, adding that the Russian leader will also be negotiating with Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe.
When asked about the agenda of the Putin-Obama talks, the press secretary’s reply was “I’ll give you three guesses.”
Later, Peskov specified by saying, “naturally, Syria is going to be topping the agenda.”
“If there is enough time,” the Ukrainian issue will also be discussed by the leaders of Russia and the US, he added.
According to the press-secretary, the meeting will last from 50 minutes to an hour and will take place after the Russian president’s address at the 70th session of the UN General Assembly on September 28.
Moscow and Washington have given their mutual consent for the talks to take place between the two presidents, Peskov stressed.
The White House has confirmed that President Obama will discuss Russia’s contribution to “what is already an ongoing multi-nation coalition” in Syria.
“There’s a lot of talk and now it’s time for clarity and for Russia to come clean and come clear on just exactly how it proposes to be a constructive contributor to what is already an ongoing multi-nation coalition,” said Celeste Wallander, the White House National Security Council’s senior director for Russia.
The meeting comes at the request of the Russian side, Reuters reported citing a senior official in Obama’s administration. The US president believes skipping the chance to overcome differences with Moscow over Ukraine and Syria would be irresponsible, the official added.
“President Obama will take advantage of this meeting to discuss Ukraine, and he will be focused on ensuring Moscow lives up to the Minsk commitments. This will be the core message of this bilateral engagement,” said the official.
The US State Department said that it hopes to advance discussions on the political and military crisis in Syria during talks next week at the General Assembly, Reuters reported.
According to Sheba Crocker, assistant secretary of state for international organization affairs, Washington told Moscow that it won’t support any Security Council statement on Syria before the council’s ministerial meeting, as it may hamper a political settlement in the country.
Earlier reports suggested that the two leaders would meet to discuss the crisis in Syria and fighting Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL).
Contact between Putin and Obama has been rare since the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis. They last met face to face a year ago during an APEC summit in China and only talked on the phone a few times since then.