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At last Obama, Putin to meet

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After months of diatribes over Ukraine crisis and Syria war, Russian President, Vladimir Putin, will on Monday meet with U.S. President, Barack Obama, in New York, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.

Peskov told journalists in Russia’s Rostov region that Putin will meet with Japanese Prime Minister ,Shinzo Abe, and then later in the day with the president.

The three leaders are among the many who will be in New York next week to attend this year’s session of the United Nation’s General Assembly.

Putin will address the assembly on Monday.

Obama and Putin last met in November 2014 at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Beijing.

A unnamed senior Obama administration official said Thursday that the meeting is taking place at Putin’s request.

Read also: Putin confirms supporting Assad in Syria ‘s war

“Given the situations in Ukraine and Syria, despite our profound differences with Moscow, the president believes that it would be irresponsible not to test whether we can make progress through high-level engagement with the Russians,” the U.S. official said.

The Obama administration official also said the U.S. president would “take advantage of this meeting to discuss Ukraine” and focus on ensuring that Russia lives up to its commitments to uphold the cease-fire agreement reached between Ukraine’s government and Russia-backed separatists.

Later Thursday, Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted Kremlin spokesman Peskov as saying that the meeting was taking place “by mutual agreement” and that Syria would “naturally” be the primary issue to be discussed.

He said Ukraine would be discussed “if time allows.”

The meeting comes amid reports Russia is bolstering its military presence in Syria to help President Bashar al-Assad in his fight against rebels seeking to overthrow him, including the Islamic State group.

Putin said earlier this month that Russia wants to create an “international coalition to fight terrorism and extremism” and that his government was “holding consultations” on the issue with what he called “our American partners.”

Credit: Voice of America

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