Apec: Obama says he wants Moscow to shift focus to fighting ISIS in Syria, confident over TPP

US President Barack Obama gestures while reacting to a question about US politicians opposed to taking in Syrian refugees as he delivers remarks after meeting with the Philippines President Benigno Aquino alongside the Apec summit in Manila, Philippi
US President Barack Obama gestures while reacting to a question about US politicians opposed to taking in Syrian refugees as he delivers remarks after meeting with the Philippines President Benigno Aquino alongside the Apec summit in Manila, Philippines, Nov 18, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS
 Philippine's President Benigno Aquino and US President Barack Obama arriving for a news conference after their meeting alongside the Apec summit in Manila, Philippines, on Nov 18, 2015.
Philippine's President Benigno Aquino and US President Barack Obama arriving for a news conference after their meeting alongside the Apec summit in Manila, Philippines, on Nov 18, 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS
US President Barack Obama speaks after touring the BRP Gregorio del Pilar at a Naval station in Manila.
US President Barack Obama speaks after touring the BRP Gregorio del Pilar at a Naval station in Manila. PHOTO: EPA

MANILA (Reuters) - Mr Obama said on Wednesday that, following the attacks on Paris, he wanted Moscow to shift its focus from propping up Syria's government to fighting Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and he would discuss this with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Speaking after a meeting with Philippine President Benigno Aquino on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific summit in Manila, he also said he welcomed France's move to step up strikes on ISIS and that Washington would help its ally.

Mr Obama also said on Wednesday that he saw "hysteria and exaggeration of risk" in some of the oppsition by politicians at home to US acceptance of more refugees from Syria.

He said calls to halt the flow of refugees to the United States were aimed at scoring political points. "It needs to stop because the world is watching," Mr Obama said.

He also expressed confidence that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal will be ratified by the US Congress before he ends his term in November 2016, adding that all trade deals faced opposition.

Mr Obama was reacting to comments by some Republican lawmakers that the 12-nation Pacific Rim free-trade deal aimed at liberalising trade for 40 per cent of the world economy was unlikely to be voted on by the US Congress before he steps down from office.

"I'm confident we're going to get it done," Mr Obama told reporters.

Mr Obama will be meeting leaders of TPP countries in Manila later in the day.

On Tuesday, Mr Obama visited an American-donated coast guard cutter now owned by the Philippines, one of its closest allies in the region.

Meanwhile, Mr Obama administration officials held a conference call on Tuesday with 34 US governors to discuss the country's refugee programme, the White House said, after more than a dozen governors said they would refuse to accept Syrian refugees.

The administration officials assured the governors that the refugees would undergo the most rigorous screening and security vetting of any category of traveller to the United States, the White House said in a statement.

Some of the governors encouraged further communication by the White House to ensure that they are able to better respond to questions from the public about the refugee screening and resettlement process, the White House said.