Putin, Trump agree to defeat ISIS in Syria: Kremlin

The two leaders called on all parties to the Syrian conflict to take an active part in the Geneva political process.
The two leaders called on all parties to the Syrian conflict to take an active part in the Geneva political process.PHOTO: REUTERS

DANANG, VIETNAM (REUTERS, AFP) - Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump, in a joint statement on Syria
approved on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific summit, agreed to continue joint efforts on fighting Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants until it is defeated, the Kremlin said on Saturday (Nov 11).

The two leaders also confirmed their commitment to Syria's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity and called on all parties to the Syrian conflict to take an active part in the Geneva political process.

Moscow and Washington agree there is no military solution to the conflict, according to the text of the joint statement published on the Kremlin's website.

Talks between Trump and Putin, a much-anticipated box office event at the Apec summit, were up in the air earlier on Saturday (Nov 11) as the leaders swapped warm greetings in Vietnam but kept the world guessing on a formal meeting.

The question of whether the US and Russian leaders will hold official discussions on the sidelines of the Apec summit in the resort city of Danang has added a layer of diplomatic intrigue to an event dominated by trade discussions.

Trump's relationship with Moscow has haunted the first year of his presidency, with key former aides under a US investigation for alleged collaboration with the Kremlin.

Overly amicable talks between Trump and Putin would be an awkward sell for the White House as it denies any wrongdoing.

Instead a delicate diplomatic dance has been on show, giving glimpses of a warm relationship but no substantive talks.

The two men have met in Danang three times since late Friday, when they posed for a photo side by side in loose-fitting blue shirts custom made for the summit.

They again warmly shook hands on Saturday morning as leaders sat down for talks and then briefly chatted as they walked together to a podium for a "family photo" of attendees.

Moscow's top diplomat Sergei Lavrov also had a short meeting with his US counterpart Rex Tillerson.

Asked to give details on their talks, Lavrov glibly replied "I can, but I wouldn't".

Russia has denied allegations of interfering in the US election last year, won by Trump in a shock victory.

Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and an associate are under house arrest on charges including conspiracy to launder money, linked to the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into allegations that the campaign colluded with Russia. Yet the US leader also wants Russian support for his efforts to isolate North Korea in a bid to restrain its nuclear ambitions.