Leaders At The G20 Summit Talk Paris Attacks & ISIS, As Obama & Putin Reach An Agreement
The world might still be stunned about the horrific attacks that occurred on Friday in Paris, but the world's leaders have gathered in Turkey to coordinate the next steps. It's part of the prearranged G20 Summit that was scheduled to take place Sunday and Monday in Antalya, Turkey, in which leaders had already prepared to talk about the ongoing refugee influx throughout Europe, climate change, and the global economy. Given Friday's tragedies, though, the G20 leaders talked about the Paris attacks and ISIS for much of Sunday — and there's word that President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin reached an agreement about Syria.
Although the original purpose of the G20 is to keep tabs on the global economy, leaders have wasted no time getting to the tough conversation about the Islamic State in the wake of Friday's attacks in Paris, which left approximately 130 people dead. French President Francois Hollande stayed back in his country to address the situation at home, sending Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius in his place. Not even Hollande's absence could keep the other attendees from talking about Paris, though, particularly with the possibility that one of the attackers entered Europe as a Syrian refugee.
"The killing of innocent people, based on a twisted ideology, is an attack not just on France, not just on Turkey, but it's an attack on the civilized world," Obama said at the start of the summit. He referenced not just Friday's attacks in Paris, but also the October bombings outside of a Turkish train station that left roughly 100 people dead.
Along with several meetings on Sunday, Obama met briefly with Putin to discuss the path to political stability in Syria. According to various reports, the two will-they-won't-they leaders agreed to a general outline, which would include a ceasefire; negotiations between Syrian leaders and the opposition, moderated by the United Nations; and a "Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political transition." This agreement is significant because Russia, despite carrying out its own air strikes on Syria, has aided Syrian President Bashar al-Assad — even though most Western nations don't support Assad.
Attention also turned to Syria because of the ongoing need to house the overwhelming number of refugees fleeing the country's turmoil for Europe. On Saturday, reports surfaced that one of the Paris attackers had in his possession a Syrian passport that showed he entered Greece on a refugee route. European countries are currently taking in thousands of refugees, and the concern that ISIS sympathizers might be taking advantage of the mass migration may make people skeptical of allowing refugees into their communities. The United Kingdom, for instance, is set to welcome its first wave of refugees later this week, and officials have emphasized that they are vetting those refugees to make the influx as safe as possible.
According to Reuters, the migration crisis is expected to dominate the G20's statement on the meeting, which will be officially released Monday. With regard to ending the violence in Syria that is causing such a mass migration, Obama is reportedly encouraging European and Middle Eastern leaders to increase their support of the U.S.-led coalition's bombing against ISIS. Ultimately, it's promising to hear reports about these conversations, especially so soon after the Paris attacks, but we're still waiting to see those conversations turn into action and results.