Politics

Obama And Putin Exchange Awkward Handshake At Summit

| by Jonathan Constante

Photos of President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin at an economic summit in Peru on Nov. 20 show the two leaders shaking hands, but avoiding eye contact.

The two spoke briefly at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Lima, the Daily Mail reported. It was their first known conversation since Donald Trump became the President-elect.

Obama and Putin reportedly spoke for about four minutes, according to The White House. Aides stood close by as the two shook hands, but appeared to avoid eye contact. It is unknown what Obama and Putin were discussing. 

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The White House said Obama encouraged Putin to uphold his country's part of the Minsk deal, which aims at concluding the Ukraine conflict.

The two leaders reportedly came to an agreement that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov would keep working together during the final months of Obama's presidency to decrease violence in Syria.

Alexander Yakovenko, the Russian ambassador to London, said Putin had been trying to convince Obama to agree to Russian pilots bombing rebel targets, but the plan came about when relations between the two leaders were declining.

"Use of the air force in Syria is part of a diplomacy backed by force," Yakovenko told the Daily Mirror. "We have been trying to coordinate with this US Administration. We'll continue doing so with the next one."

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Trump and Putin had hinted towards pursuing a better relationship throughout the 2016 Presidential race. Putin reportedly called Trump to congratulate him on his victory shortly after he was elected. The Russian president told Trump he was ready for a "partner-like dialogue," the Kremlin said, according to the Daily Mail.

Sources: Daily Mail, Daily Mirror / Photo Credit: Screenshot via Daily Mail

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