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Obama, Putin Briefly Meet At G20 Summit


Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) meets with U.S. President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey, on November 15.

U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin have held informal talks on the sidelines of a G20 summit in Turkey.

Obama and Putin shook hands and exchanged words, inaudible to reporters, at the summit on November 15.

The White House said the two also held a 35-minute meeting focused on talks to end Syria's civil war and that the two leaders agreed that the country needs a political transition led by Syrians.

The White House said the two leaders also discussed the conflict in Ukraine and that Obama expressed condolences for the victims in the Russian plane crash last month in the Sinai Peninsula.

It was their first meeting since Russia launched air strikes in Syria at the end of September.

The attacks in Paris that killed 129 people are likely to top the agenda of the G20 summit.

U.S. deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said the United States will work with France to intensify air strikes against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

Speaking on the sidelines of the summit, Rhodes said getting arms directly to fighters on the ground in Syria and Iraq seemed to be working in the fight against Islamic State (IS) militants.

Separately, Rhodes told reporters that IS has the aspiration to launch attacks on any member of the U.S.-led coalition but said there was no specific credible threat against the United States.

Meanwhile, European Council President Donald Tusk said Russia should focus more on IS militants and not against "moderate Syrian opposition."

Russia has been carrying out air strikes it says target IS. But many in the West fear the real aim is to keep Moscow's ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in power.

Tusk also warned that Russian air strikes in Syria would "only result (in) a new wave of refugees. And we have some signals that in fact it's started.''

With reporting by AFP, Reuters and AP
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