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Putin, Saudi Defense Minister Discuss Syria Cooperation

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Saudi Arabia’s defense minister on October 11 for a dialogue that Moscow said would boost the two countries’ cooperation in Syria.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after Putin’s meeting with Sheikh Mohammed bin Salman, a son of the Saudi king, that both countries are willing to cooperate in dealing with the Syria conflict and want to prevent the emergence of a "terrorist caliphate."

"On both sides, as far as I can tell, there is an understanding that today's meeting can advance our cooperation," Lavrov said following the meeting in Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Russia has launched a campaign of air strikes against insurgents fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a staunch Moscow ally.

U.S. officials and regional foes of Assad -- including Saudi Arabia -- say Russia has bombed more moderate rebel groups in addition to the Islamic State militants Moscow says it is targeting.

Both Washington and Saudi Arabia say Assad cannot be part of a postconflict government in Syria, a position Russia rejects.

Based on reporting by Reuters and Interfax