Obama urges Russia to join renewed effort to eliminate Islamic State

US will work with France to hunt down those responsible for the horrific attacks in Paris, Obama said


Reuters November 16, 2015
Russian president Vladimir Putin (left) and US president Barack Obama (right). PHOTO:AFP/FILE

BELEK, TURKEY: US President Barack Obama vowed on Sunday to step up efforts to eliminate Islamic State and prevent more attacks like those in Paris, while urging Russia's Vladimir Putin to focus on combating the militant group in Syria.

A White House official said Obama and Putin agreed during a 35-minute meeting on the sidelines of a G20 summit in Turkey on the need for a political transition in Syria, saying events in Paris had made it all the more urgent.

US has 'contained' Islamic State group, Obama says

The two-day summit brings Obama and fellow world leaders just 500 km from Syria, whose 4-1/2-year conflict has transformed Islamic State into a global security threat and spawned Europe's largest migration flows since World War Two.

Obama described Friday's killing of more than 120 people in Paris, claimed by the radical Sunni militant group, as an attack on the civilized world and said the United States would work with France to hunt down those responsible.

"The skies have been darkened by the horrific attacks that took place in Paris just a day and a half ago," Obama said.

Obama, Putin agree need for UN-negotiated Syria talks, ceasefire

"We will redouble our efforts, working with other members of the coalition, to bring about a peaceful transition in Syria and to eliminate Da'ish as a force that can create so much pain and suffering for people in Paris, in Ankara, and in other parts of the globe," he said, using the Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

US-led efforts to combat Islamic State were complicated when Russia joined the conflict a month and a half ago, targeting what the West says are mainly areas where foreign-backed fighters are battling Assad, Moscow's ally, rather than Islamic State. The United States, Turkey and their allies want Assad out.

Obama huddled with Putin during a working lunch and the two agreed on the need for a Syrian-led transition including UN-mediated talks, the White House official said.

Obama says stands with France in hunting down those behind Paris attack

Putin and Obama talked "extensively", Russian news agencies cited top Kremlin foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov as saying.

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