Obama and Putin Meet to Discuss Syria After All
Looks like President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin did end up spending some quality time together this week.
According to Putin, the two sat down together for about 20 minutes to 30 minutes on Friday, mostly to discuss a looming U.S. strike on Syria. Putin said that while the two parties disagreed, the conversation was constructive. White House officials confirmed the meeting, but declined to provide further details on the conversation between the two world leaders.
Previously, President Obama had no plans to meet one-on-one with the Russian leader during the G20 summit. Despite Putin's announcement that he would be willing to meet with the president in order to clear up issues surrounding his stance on homosexuality, Obama had announced only that he planned to meet with Russian LGBT activists during his stay.
In August, Obama cancelled plans for a pre-summit meeting with Putin after Russia offered asylum to National Security Agency leak Edward Snowden and signed anti-gay legislation ahead of the 2014 winter olympics.
The two have been at odds over a number of issues, and their latest disagreement over how to handle Syria's alleged use of chemical weapons certainly hasn't helped the situation. Obama maintains that the U.S. has enough evidence to prove that the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad authorized the use of chemical weapons, while Putin remains skeptical and has sided with Assad.
Earlier this week, Putin even went so far as to call Secretary of State John Kerry a liar. The Russian leader also moved naval ships into the Mediterranean Sea, as countries prepared for the possibility of a strike and its subsequent consequences.
Obama and Putin appeared together publicly for less than 20 seconds at the start of the summit, shaking hands and smiling. Obama even complimented the presidential palace, calling it beautiful.
Nothing like some good manners when you're talking about military intervention.