A White House official said Tuesday that President Barack Obama is not expected to have a formal meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in St. Petersburg this coming weekend.
The source noted that the two may meet on the sidelines of the economic conference, but a formal meeting will be unlikely.
The G20 summit was set up for leaders to discuss global financial and economic issues; therefore, no formal venue will exist to discuss a possible U.S. strike against Syria.
Nevertheless, the Moscow Times quoted President Putin in a report saying that the summit will "be a good platform to discuss the problem."
“Of course, the G20 is not a formal legal authority. It’s not a substitute for the UN Security Council, it can’t take decisions on the use of force. Why not take advantage of this?” Putin said on Sunday.
According to their report, Russian politicians seem convinced that Obama will take Putin’s advice and use the G20 to provide proof that a strike on Syria is necessary.
AFP reported that President Barack Obama left for Europe on Tuesday on a mission to seek tacit support for a plan to strike Syria without a UN mandate.
Obama headed for Sweden and the G20 summit in Russia after making political headway at home as top Republican leaders firmly backed his plan to punish President Bashar al-Assad for a series of chemical weapons attacks on the suburbs of the capital Damascus.
The Russian government firmly opposes any kind of UN resolution endorsing a U.S. military strike against their ally, Syria. The U.S. president and Russia’s leader, Putin, are said to have a rocky relationship due to this and a number of other points of contention, including the decision of Russia to provide NSA informant Edward Snowden with asylum.
Some analysts have referred to current US-Russia relations as a “slow moving train wreck.”