ANTALYA, Turkey (APP) – US President Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin of Russia huddled Sunday for a coffee-table summit, breaking the ice for the first time since Moscow launched air bombardments in Syria.
Sitting in leather armchairs on opposite sides of a small table, the pair leaned forward in animated talks on the sidelines of a summit in Turkey’s Mediterranean resort of Antalya, state television showed.
According to Russian news agencies, the pair met for 20 minutes. The two heads of state held the summit in an unlikely venue, nearby a potted palm tree as other delegates wandered by and security agents partially obstructed the view of the television camera.
Obama, who was gesturing to reinforce his points, and Putin were flanked at the coffee table by White House National Security Advisor Susan Rice and another unidentified man, apparently a translator.
None of the content of the conversation was divulged to the journalists covering the summit.
Hours earlier, the former Cold War foes shook hands as they took places for a family photograph of the Group of 20 top world economies, a summit now dominated by the Paris bombing and shooting assault, which killed 129 people.
It was Obama and Putin’s first meeting since Russia launched its declared anti-Islamic State air bombardment in Syria at the end of September. The West suspects the campaign is really aimed at propping up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Relations between the two powers have deteriorated, in particular over Russia’s backing for pro-Moscow rebels in Ukraine and now its air campaign in Syria, launched just after Putin’s last meeting with Obama in New York in September.