Resolving the Syrian crisis was the main focus of the two leaders’ exchange of views. Both sides gave a positive assessment of the outcome of the International Syria Support Group’s meeting in Munich on February 11–12, which reaffirmed the principles and provisions of UN Security Council Resolution 2254 with regard to humanitarian matters, working out the modalities for a ceasefire, and facilitating the launch of a genuine political process. In particular, Mr Putin and Mr Obama expressed their support for the efforts of the two focus groups on the ceasefire and humanitarian matters.
Mr Putin reiterated the importance of establishing a common counterterrorist front and renouncing double standards. In particular, the President of Russia noted the need to organise close working contacts between the Russian Defence Ministry and the US Department of Defence, which would make it possible to combat ISIS and other terrorist organisations in more effective and better-planned fashion.
The two presidents agreed to step up cooperation through diplomatic channels and other agencies in order to carry out the declaration the International Syria Support Group approved in Munich.
Mr Putin and Mr Obama also discussed the situation in Ukraine, particularly in the context of implementing the Package of Measures approved in Minsk on February 12, 2015. Mr Putin expressed the hope that the authorities in Kiev would finally start taking practical steps towards carrying out their obligations rapidly, including establishing direct dialogue with the Donbass region, holding an amnesty, carrying out constitutional reform, consultations with representatives of Donetsk and Lugansk, and entry into force of legal amendments giving these two regions special status.
The conversation between Mr Putin and Mr Obama was frank and constructive.