UPDATES WITH U.S. PRESIDENT TRUMP'S REMARKS ON PUTIN'S ELECTION MEDDLING DENIALS
By Diyar Guldogan
ANKARA (AA) - Russian President Vladimir Putin and his American counterpart Donald Trump agreed there was no military solution to the Syrian conflict, the Kremlin said on Saturday.
According to a joint statement published on the Kremlin website: "The presidents agreed that there is no military solution to the conflict in Syria.”
The statement came after the two leaders met on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Da Nang, Vietnam.
The statement added that the conflict should be forged through the Geneva process pursuant to UNSCR 2254 – a UN Security Council resolution that reaffirms the sovereignty of Syria.
Putin and Trump affirmed their commitment to Syria's sovereignty, unity, independence, territorial integrity, and non-sectarian character and urged all parties to actively participate in the Geneva political process, the statement added.
The two leaders expressed their commitment to defeat Daesh, adding that joint efforts by the American and Russian forces had weakened the group.
"Finally President Trump and President Putin confirmed the importance of de-escalation areas as an interim step to reduce violence in Syria, enforce cease-fire agreements, facilitate unhindered humanitarian access, and set the conditions for the ultimate political solution to the conflict," it added.
- Putin denies meddling in election
Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating civil war that began in early 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.
Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict and more than 10 million displaced, according to the UN.
Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One as he traveled to Hanoi as part of his Asia trip, Trump said Putin again denied meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections.
"He [Putin] says he didn't meddle. I asked him again. You can only ask so many times," Trump said.
The U.S. president said he had brief conversations with his Russian counterpart on the sidelines of the summit.
"Every time he sees me, he said: 'I didn't do that.' And I believe, I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it," said Trump, adding that Putin was "very insulted" by the accusations.