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Trump, Putin agree 'no military solution' in Syria says Kremlin

US President Donald Trump (L) shakes hands with Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) ahead of the APEC Summit leaders gala dinner in Vietnam
STR (Vietnam News Agency/AFP)
Putin and Trump have declared their commitment to Syria's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.

US President Donald Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin issued a presidential joint statement saying there was "no military solution" for the war in Syria, after the leaders met briefly on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific summit, the Kremlin said Saturday.

These comments follow brief contact between the two leaders in Danang, Vietnam, in a set of meetings that have been shrouded in diplomatic intrigue due to an absence of official meetings.

The pair were seen sharing cordial handshakes and brief conversations three times during the summit but there were no sit-down talks between the two.

In a statement published on its website, the Kremlin said the two presidents had made progress on Syria, which has been battered by six years of civil war.

The US and Russia have backed competing factions in the bloody conflict and agreement between them on the next steps towards peace is rare.

However, in an uncommon act, the presidents were on the same page in declaring their commitment to "Syria’s sovereignty, independence, unity, territorial integrity and secular nature," the Kremlin reported.

The US and Russia have agreed to open a joint channel of communication to avoid dangerous incidents in the region as a way of enhancing the security of both nations forces.

STRINGER (AFP)

They also affirmed their "determination to defeat ISIS" and continue collaborating on this mutual aim which has increased the terrorist groups "losses on the battlefield over the last few months."

Russian military has recently accused the United States of merely "pretending" to fight IS in Iraq and of hindering the Russian-backed offensive in eastern Syria.

"The presidents discussed the necessity to reduce human suffering in Syria, and called on all UN member states to increase their contribution to help meet the humanitarian needs over the coming months," the statement said.

Furthermore, they have urged all parties in the conflict to actively participate in the Geneva process that lays the foundations for a peaceful resolution to the conflict. UN Security Council Resolution 2254, that was unanimously adopted earlier this year, includes a call for constitutional reform and free elections.

Russia has been flying a bombing campaign in Syria since 2015 when it stepped in to support President Bashar al-Assad's rule and tipped the conflict in his favour.

More than 330,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began in March 2011 with anti-government protests, before spiraling into a complex, multi-front war that drew in international forces and jihadists.

(More to follow)

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