Telephone conversation with US President Barack Obama 2016-04-18 20:00:00 At the USA’s initiative, Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with President of the United States of America Barack Obama. The two presidents discussed the situation in Syria and reiterated their commitment to strengthening the ceasefire initiated by Russia and the USA and facilitating access of humanitarian aid to the regions in need. Mr Putin stressed the need for the moderate opposition to distance themselves swiftly from ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, and to close Syria’s border with Turkey, from where fighters and arms supplies for the extremists make their way in. The two presidents agreed to continue building up their coordination on Syria, including through their intelligence services and defence ministries. For this purpose, additional measures will be put in place for rapid response to violations of the ceasefire. Mr Putin and Mr Obama stressed the importance of the inter-Syrian talks taking place in Geneva under UN aegis. These talks should pave the way to a political solution to the conflict. Mr Obama thanked Mr Putin for Russia’s help in freeing American citizen Kevin Dawes, who had been in captivity in Syria. The two presidents exchanged views on the situation in Ukraine, with Mr Putin expressing the hope that with the new Ukrainian government in place now, the authorities in Kiev will finally start taking concrete steps towards implementing the Minsk agreements of February 12, 2015, especially the provisions on establishing direct dialogue with the Donbass representatives, carrying out an amnesty, carrying out constitutional reform, and bringing into force the law on special status agreed on with the Donetsk and Lugansk representatives. The two presidents also discussed other current matters on the bilateral and international agendas, including the Middle East peace process.