By DAVID HAYESWORTH-SOUTHERN NEW YORK, N.Y. — President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin met for a first face-to-face face meeting after an extensive weekend in which they exchanged views on the situation in Syria, a Kremlin official said Monday.
In a joint statement, Putin and Trump “agreed that the two countries should focus on a political solution to the conflict in Syria and on preventing the rise of extremism in that country,” the Kremlin statement said.
It did not elaborate.
Trump said Monday that he hoped the two leaders could “get on to more constructive things,” including fighting terrorism.
Putin, in his own statement, said the two sides agreed that “the political and security environment in Syria will be one of real and lasting stability.”
He also said “the two sides were ready to discuss the steps needed to combat terrorism and extremism.”
The statement did not say what they discussed.
Earlier in the day, the two presidents held a bilateral meeting in St. Petersburg.
Putin said that the meeting had “great depth and breadth” and that they discussed “many subjects of mutual interest” including the war in Syria.
He did not give a timeframe for when that might be.
Trump has said the United States should not be drawn into a proxy war in the Middle East that has killed hundreds of thousands of people and led to an international outcry over human rights abuses.
Russia and the United Kingdom have been conducting airstrikes in Syria since 2015, in support of the Syrian government.
Russia and the U, however, are engaged in a proxy conflict in the Eastern Mediterranean that has spilled over into neighboring Turkey and other European countries.
The United States and Russia, along with Turkey, are both part of the U-Mud coalition, which is led by Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Arab states.