Obama calls Putin a ‘constructive partner’ in Syria talks
U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday praised Russia’s role in talks to end the Syria crisis and offered the prospect of better ties if Moscow focused military strikes on the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group.
Obama said Russia had been a “constructive partner in Vienna in trying to create a political transition,” referring to international talks in Austria.
But, he said, there were still differences over the fate of Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad, and Moscow’s current military focus on defending him.
“There is obviously a catch, which is Moscow is still interested in keeping Assad in power,” Obama said.
But he added: “Those differences have not prevented us at looking at how we could set up a cease fire.”
Obama also expressed hope that Russia may shift the military focus from defending Assad to attacking ISIS.
Obama slams U.S. ‘hysteria’
Obama also on Wednesday slammed domestic “hysteria” about the security risks posed by Syrian refugees, accusing his political foes of demonizing “widows and orphans.”
In an unusually fierce rebuke, Obama struck out at American politicians who have called for migrant curbs in the wake of the Paris terror attacks.
Describing calls for different rules for Christian and non-Christian migrants as “offensive and contrary to American values,” Obama said shrill election-fueled debate on migration was only helping ISIS.