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Putin and Obama discuss Syria and Ukraine at G20

Putin and Obama discuss Syria and Ukraine at G20U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin had a long discussion on Monday about the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine at their meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in China, a senior U.S. administration official and the Kremlin spokesman said.

"The meeting was longer than expected," the spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, was cited as saying by RIA news agency.

"It went well. Work will continue," Peskov said, describing the mood of the meeting.

Obama and Putin spent about 90 minutes in a "constructive" meeting about getting humanitarian aid into the country, reducing violence, and cooperating on combating militant groups in Syria, the U.S. official told.

Earlier on Monday U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov failed to reach an agreement over Syria’s issue.

Obama and Putin made progress to clarify "the remaining gaps" and directed Kerry and Lavrov to meet as early as this week to keep working on a deal, the official told reporters.

"If an agreement can be reached, we want to do so urgently, because of the humanitarian situation. However, we must ensure that it is an effective agreement," the official said.

Obama and Putin also discussed the conflict in Ukraine - a crisis that Obama had earlier discussed with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande. Obama again insisted for Minsk ceasefire to be implemented otherwise economic sanctions on Russia need to be extended.
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