Obama shakes hands with Putin

Biden and Putin’s discussions Biden spent around 45 minutes with Putin Friday in a Moscow meeting that was the first time the two have talked since 2015. Putin’s team made no mention of the…

Obama shakes hands with Putin

Biden and Putin’s discussions

Biden spent around 45 minutes with Putin Friday in a Moscow meeting that was the first time the two have talked since 2015.

Putin’s team made no mention of the conversation in its public statement about the meeting.

Biden said after the meeting he had listened to Putin’s call for unity between Russia and its neighbors.

A joint statement from the two leaders described the talks in more sweeping terms, and the U.S. and Russia are cooperating on “promoting peace and stability in Ukraine.”

US and Russian officials are also working on a raft of other issues “to further connect the world community to the drive for peace in Ukraine, and to strengthen the global fight against terrorism,” the two leaders said.

“We both expressed our concern about Russia’s military support for the Assad regime in Syria and at the same time expressed concern about the lack of progress in Russia-Turkey talks on de-escalation, humanitarian assistance, and the return of displaced Syrians,” the statement said.

“We agreed that our two countries will continue to work closely together to ensure that Russia does not use its proxy forces to threaten the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other countries. This includes helping stabilize the situation in the east of Syria.”

What happened during the visit

Biden thanked Putin for his support of Ukraine during the conflict.

“We talked about the events in eastern Ukraine and some of the other themes that we’ve agreed to work together in order to elevate the international community’s ability to bring about a peace settlement,” he said.

He did not address the concerns over Russia’s 2018 presidential election, which may be seen as an effort to increase support for President Vladimir Putin, who seeks re-election.

The election is on March 18 and the president’s victory would extend his long rule.

The trip

Biden left Washington Friday afternoon on a six-day tour of Latin America, visiting Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Belize and Mexico.

He is traveling to Argentina for an upcoming Summit of the Americas, to hold a discussion on women’s rights and to become the keynote speaker at the Economic Policy Institute’s 2018 Conference of Western Hemisphere Economists.

Biden is meeting with different leaders in some of the most important countries in Latin America, including Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

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