Obama and Putins discussion at the G20 summit about ISIS The 2015 G20 Summit in Antalya marked the 10th meeting between the heads of government for 20 of the largest economies, which take place semi-annually.
Whilst the purpose of these meetings has generally been to discuss key economic issues. The meeting that took place however, gained attention for foreign policy reasons amid rising concerns about the size of the threat of the ISIS, the terrorist organisation that utilises brutal tactics to spread its influence using acts of brutality under the pretence of Islam.
This included the atrocities that took place most notably in Paris, but also in Beirut on 13th of November where many lives were taken leading the world to a standstill to grieve the lives that had been tragically taken. In particular the discussions between US president Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin received high levels of attention.
Obama had described the events that had taken place at the summit as “an attack on the civilised world”. This was followed by a meeting that lasted 35 minutes on the sidelines of the summit. It was described as a “quite detailed conversation” the result being “strategic goals were very close, but the tactical differences remained” according to Putin’s foreign advisor Yuri Ushakov.
One of the key highlights of the conversation was that Obama and Putin had agreed that Syria needs a political transition led by Syrians, preceded by negotiations mediated by the United Nations and a cease-fire according to the US. This agreement showed promising signs in terms of relations between the US and Russia in over a year, which had become hostile due to Russian aggression aimed towards the Ukraine along with the decision by Putin to put missiles on moderate targets in Syria.
An area of which Russia had shown reluctance to change its stance due to its support for the Assad regime. This is in contrast to the US who wanted to target ISIS directly through air strikes in preference of a ground war.
However, despite the talks that took place it is still uncertain what steps will be taken by both leaders to combat ISIS as little has been said by both Obama and Putin on the matter. This could be due to the fact that both countries may be unwilling to strike a compromise. Alternatively, the biggest barrier in removing ISIS is the amount of lives at stake as the captured territories are in areas where there is a large civilian population.