Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that there had been some “alignment” with U.S. counterpart Barack Obama over Syria after talks in China, insisting the two sides could reach a deal soon.
“Given the gaps of trust that exist”, Obama said, “that’s a tough negotiation”.
Obama and Putin also discussed the conflict in Ukraine – a crisis that Obama had earlier discussed with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande.
A senior State Department official said a fresh round of talks between Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the margins of the G20 summit in Hangzhou had ended without agreement.
Moscow and Washington support different sides in Syria’s festering conflict that has left 290,000 dead, with Russian Federation backing President Bashar al-Assad while the United States supports rebel groups fighting him.
Administration officials had said that Obama would make the case for the TPP during his visit to Asia, including in a speech he has scheduled in Laos on Tuesday.
“There was some backsliding from some of the recent discussions in Geneva” between Kerry and Lavrov, the official said, adding that on Sunday there was a “narrowing back” to the positions the parties had taken coming into the meeting.
Obama has made the 12-nation TPP the centerpiece of a diplomatic “pivot” to Asia, but the prospects for USA congressional approval have looked increasingly dim, with both major presidential candidates – Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump – standing opposed.
The comments were made a day after Obama said the U.S. and Russian Federation had deep differences with regard to the parties they support in Syria as well as the process to bring peace there. Al-Assad’s forces, and in the past Russian planes, have bombed us -backed Syrian rebels under the guise of fighting ISIS.
Russia, however, considers several of the groups the US backs to be “terrorist” organizations and, therefore, as legitimate targets.