President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin have confirmed their readiness to increase military cooperation in Syria and their commitment to defeating the The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Nusra Front, an al Qaeda’s affiliate.
Obama spoke with Putin by phone on Wednesday ahead of what will likely be his last trip as head of state to Europe to meet with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) leaders.
According to the White House, the two leaders discussed Syria and Ukraine, as well as efforts to settle the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh enclave, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Obama conveyed Washington’s concern that the Syrian regime wasn’t complying with a cease-fire agreement and urged Putin to press Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government to comply by it.
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The White House said that both leaders also confirmed their commitment to defeating ISIL and al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, Nusra Front and agreed to intensify military coordination in Syria.
Putin urged Mr. Obama to help separate moderate opposition forces from Nusra front and other terrorist groups.
During the conversation, Washington proposed that Moscow force Assad to ground Syria’s air force in exchange for the Pentagon’s help with targeting in Syria.
The White House said that regarding the dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan, President Obama said the U.S. was willing to intensify efforts to work with Russia to achieve a comprehensive settlement.
Senior U.S. officials, previewing Obama’s upcoming NATO meetings in Warsaw are of the opinion that a major focus is the shift of the body from reassurance to deterring Russia in the East.
The U.S. permanent representative to NATO, Doug Lute, said that NATO’s approach with respect to Russia is a “balance between strength and dialogue.