U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin met on the sidelines of the G20 summit Sunday to discuss steps for bringing peace in the war affected Syria.
The meeting came after Friday’s Paris attacks, a coordinated series of shootings and suicide bombings that killed at least 129 and injured 350. The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, blaming France for their participation in air strikes targeting its forces in Syria.
Speaking about the meeting, a U.S. official said, “The conversation lasted approximately 35 minutes and centred around ongoing efforts to resolve the conflict in Syria, an imperative made all the more urgent by the horrifying terrorist attacks in Paris.” It was the first meeting between the presidents of the two nations since an air campaign targeting the Islamic State jihadists was launched by Russia, according to ABC.net.au.
Obama and Putin agreed that there was a growing need for United Nations talks, a ceasefire and a transitional government in Syria.
Warning of an “acute and growing flow of foreign terrorist fighters” in a draft special statement, world leaders said that they would take the necessary steps to combat jihadist activity – including sharing intelligence, keeping an eye on border crossings and enhancing aviation security.
British Prime Minister David Cameron emphasized that destroying the “death cult” of the Islamic State was empirical, and the security across the world depended on it. “We need to keep on making the case that we will be safer in the UK, in France and across Europe if we destroy this death cult once and for all,” he said.
Obama condemned the suicide bombings in Ankara that killed 102 people last month. He also expressed “deep condolences” over the Russian passenger jet that crashed in Egypt, killing all 224 people aboard the flight. The IS is suspected to have planted a bomb on the flight.
A terrorist attack on Istanbul, perpetrated by IS, was thwarted by Turkey on Friday – the same day as the Paris attacks. A group of five extremists, which included one sharing close ties with British Islamic State executioner Mohammed Emwazi, also known as “Jihadi John,” was arrested by security forces, as reported by Yahoo News.
The debate over accepting refugees was reignited after the deadly attacks in the French capital. Although some countries said they were concerned over admitting the heavy inflow of migrants, president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, said the perpetrators of the Paris attacks “are the very same people who the refugees are fleeing and not the opposite.”