Republicans often claim that Russian President Vladimir Putin believes that Obama is “weak” on worldwide affairs, but that talking point was squashed over the weekend.
Russia’s Interfax news agency on Saturday reported that the four countries would establish a joint information centre in the Iraqi capital which could be used in the future to coordinate military operations against Islamic State.
“We support the legitimate government of Syria”, Putin said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping made a $1 billion pledge for United Nations peace efforts.
While Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov has been reluctant to feed into speculation about the agenda for the meeting, when asked by press in Moscow on Thursday if there were any issues that will definitely be discussed, he said cheerfully: “Can you guess in three turns?”
But short of sending in ground forces – an option Western countries are not willing to entertain – the stalemate in the war against the Islamic State group is likely to persist. The IS controls significant stretches of territory in Iraq and Syria… Iraq and Turkey also groan under the strain of millions of refugees.
USA officials said the crisis in Syria, as well as the continued conflict in Ukraine, necessitated an in-person meeting with Putin.
He said U.S.-trained rebels were leaving to join the Islamic State with weapons supplied by Washington.
In New York, all eyes will be on Putin, who is expected to announce a counterterrorism initiative when he addresses the General Assembly on Monday – his first UNGA appearance in 10 years.
The comments came as French President Francois Hollande confirmed that France had carried out its first air strikes against ISIL, but said that Syria’s future could not include Assad.
One of the difficulties in attracting “secular” rebels to the US training program is that recruits are told they will only be able to fight Islamic State, not the forces of President Assad. “The strong men of today become the spark of revolution tomorrow”, Obama warned.
Washington has demanded that Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad step down, but Putin’s rival alliance with Shi’ite-led states will instead shore up the beleaguered government in Damascus.
Ukraine’s table just in front of the speaker’s stand was empty as Putin spoke. Russia has hinted that such will be the case, but that’s not likely unless they can be guaranteed that Assad’s successor is as pro-Russian as he is.
President Vladimir Putin has said Russian Federation had no plans “right now” to put combat troops in Syria, but would continue backing the Syrian government. The USA has called for his removal from power.
Four years after President Barack Obama’s August 2011 ultimatum that the Syrian president gives way to new leadership, world leaders are closer to agreeing that Assad can stay. The other challenge is he hasn’t been at all effective fighting ISIL.
Mr Putin is an ally of Mr Assad, but the USA and its allies consider him the cause of the carnage in the Syrian civil war and part of the reason for the rise of IS.