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Obama, Putin Discuss Syria, Ukraine At Climate Summit


Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) meets with U.S. President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the UN conference on climate change.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) meets with U.S. President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the UN conference on climate change.

Barack Obama has urged Vladimir Putin to ratchet down tensions with Turkey as the U.S. and Russian presidents met on the sidelines of the Paris climate summit.

White House and Kremlin officials said that during the 30-minute meeting on November 30 that Obama expressed regret for the death of the pilot in a recent shoot-down of a Russian fighter jet by a Turkish plane, which has sent relations between Moscow and Ankara plummeting.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the two discussed the ongoing crisis in Syria and both supported starting full talks to reach a political resolution to the war, now in its fifth year.

A White House official said Obama told Putin that President Bashar al-Assad must leave power as part of any transition in Syria.

The official also said Obama called on Putin to focus Russian air strikes on Islamic State militants, not rebels fighting Assad.

Peskov said the two also talked about Ukraine and the need to implement the Minsk cease-fire accords.

With reporting by AP, Reuters, and Interfax
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