Putin, Kerry Meet on Syria During APEC Summit
Russian President Vladamir Putin showed a rare display of goodwill after briefly meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Putin reportedly declared that Washington and Moscow had reached a "common understanding on how to eliminate Syria's chemical stockpile."
Speaking to reporters after chatting with Kerry at the end of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Bali, Putin said, "We have a common understanding of what needs to be done and how. I am very glad that President [Barack] Obama is occupying this position [on chemical arms]."
International experts began the process of verifying and eliminating chemical weapons in Syria earlier this month. Russia, Syria's long-time ally and arms supplier, has offered to assist with the demolition process. Within a year, Putin believes that experts will be able to accomplish their goal of ridding Syria of all chemical arms.
“We and the Americans, the whole international community trust them,” Putin said. “If they are saying it is possible to do this (eliminate Syria’s chemical arms) in one year, then that’s the way it is.”
On Monday, Kerry hailed the implementation of the Syria chemical plan saying that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's regime deserved the credit for the process beginning on time.
Officials say Kerry and Putin also discussed the importance of organizing an international conference to assist in creating an interim government for Syria by mid-November, a target date set by the United Nations.
Kerry, who led the U.S. delegation to APEC in place of U.S. President Barak Obama, also spoke briefly with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Asian economic summit.