MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's President Vladimir Putin discussed Syria, Ukraine and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with U.S. President Barack Obama Wednesday.
Putin called Obama to inform him about the results of his talks with Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents, which were intended to help stabilize the situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone, the Kremlin said. The White House said Obama expressed his readiness to intensify efforts together with Russia and with France, as co-chairs of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Minsk Group, to achieve a comprehensive settlement to the conflict.
Talking about Syria, Putin called for encouraging moderate Syrian opposition to disengage quickly from the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front, which has been excluded from the U.S.- and Russia-brokered truce in Syria along with the Islamic State group. The Kremlin said the two leaders also reaffirmed their readiness to "build up coordination of Russian and U.S. actions in Syria in the military sphere," and noted the importance of resuming peace talks.
The White House didn't mention stronger military coordination in its readout of the conversation. However, using an alternative acronym for IS, it said that "the presidents confirmed their commitment to defeating ISIL and the Nusrah Front."
It also noted that Obama emphasized his concerns over the failure of the Syrian regime to comply with the cessation of hostilities.
"President Obama stressed the importance of Russia pressing the Syrian regime for a lasting halt to offensive attacks against civilians and parties to the Cessation, noting the importance of fully recommitting to the original terms of the Cessation," the White House said.
It added that Obama "stressed the necessity for progress on a genuine political transition to end the conflict in Syria, as well as sustained humanitarian access."
Regarding Ukraine, Putin argued that its government needs to follow the 2015 Minsk peace deal by launching a dialogue with rebels, granting a special status to rebel regions and preparing local elections there.
Obama, meanwhile, urged Putin "to take steps to end the significant uptick in fighting in eastern Ukraine and stressed the urgent importance of moving forward with full implementation of the Minsk agreements," according to the White House statement.