US, Russian Presidents discuss Syria crisis in third phone call

World Today

US, Russian Presidents discuss Syrian CrisisFILE PHOTO: A combination of file photos showing Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia, January 15, 2016 and U.S. President Donald Trump posing for a photo in New York City, U.S., May 17, 2016. REUTERS/Ivan Sekretarev/Pool/Lucas Jackson/File Photos

A few hours after meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by phone with U.S. President Donald Trump – their third phone conversation. According to both sides, the issue of Syria and the violence there topped the agenda.

CGTN’s Roee Ruttenberg reports.

US, Russian Presidents discuss Syria crisis in third phone call

The presidents of the U.S. and Russia discussed over the phone the crisis in Syria. Both sides agree the conflict had dragged on for far too long and pledged to work towards a peace deal. Their conversation came just hours after Vladimir Putin met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The phone call between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin was the first since a U.S. missile strike last month targeted a Syrian air base.

The move angered Damascus’ main backer, Moscow, which reportedly received advanced notice of the attack.

According to the White House, on the call, the two leaders agreed that the suffering in Syria has “gone on for far too long,” and that “all parties must do all they can to end the violence.”

In a press statement, the White House said, “The conversation was a very good one, and included the discussion of safe, or de-escalation, zones to achieve lasting peace for humanitarian and many other reasons.”

The U.S. confirmed it would be sending a representative to a fourth round of peace talks in Kazakhstan, later this week.

A previous round in March closed without any substantive negotiations taking place after Syrian rebels boycotted the talks.

Trump had criticized his predecessor, Barack Obama, for not doing enough on Syria, and warned his election opponent, Hillary Clinton, would start a World War with Russia over Syria.

But Trump himself has been criticized for being too soft on the Kremlin, which is being investigated by the FBI and U.S. Congress for its alleged interference in last year’s election.

Trump denies any wrongdoing or connection to Russian actions.

Meanwhile, he is recruiting Moscow to help defuse tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

According to the Interfax News Agency, Presidents Putin and Trump agreed on the call to “work jointly towards diplomatic solutions on the DPRK.”

There was no mention in the call of some issues past administrations raised with the Russians.

Things like democratic reforms and minority rights, topics German Chancellor Angela Merkel addressed when meeting with Putin just hours earlier.

Germany will host both leaders – Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin – at the G20 in Hamburg this summer and on Tuesday the two agreed they would try to meet face-to-face for the first time, on the sidelines of that event.