Obama, Putin Discuss Syria, Ukraine in Paris

Obama, Putin Discuss Syria, Ukraine in ParisObama, Putin Discuss Syria, Ukraine in Paris

US President Barack Obama met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the sidelines of the climate summit in Paris on Monday and discussed the Syrian crisis as well as the situation in Ukraine, a White House official said.

Obama told Putin he believes Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must leave power as part of a political transition, the official said, Reuters reported. He also emphasized a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis, adding that sanctions against Russia can be rolled back when Moscow honors the Minsk accord, according to the White House official, who spoke on background.

The two leaders had not scheduled a formal meeting during the two days of talks but found time to huddle on the sidelines.

Ahead of the summit, the White House said it was likely they would interact. Their meeting took place in private. Obama and Putin last met a week ago at the Group of 20 economic summit in Turkey.