Obama To Meet Russian President Vladimir Putin At U.N. Next Week
ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
The White House has spent more than a year trying to isolate Russian president Vladimir Putin. Now a turnaround. President Obama will meet face to face with Putin next week. Here's NPR's Scott Horsley.
SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: The Obama administration has been giving Vladimir Putin the diplomatic cold shoulder ever since Russian troops moved into Crimea last year. But that comes to an end next week when the two men will sit down together on the sidelines of a United Nations gathering in New York. White House spokesman Josh Earnest stressed the meeting comes at Putin's invitation. With the Russian economy battered by low oil prices and international sanctions, Ernest argues Putin may be getting desperate.
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JOSH EARNEST: In this case, it appears that President Putin is convinced that his position would benefit from a conversation with President Obama. And if that's the case, hopefully we'll be able to find some common ground.
HORSLEY: So far though, there's not even a common agenda. Russia wants to focus the meeting on Syria, where it backs President Bashar al-Assad whom the United States insists must step down. The Americans say they're more concerned about Ukraine. The White House hopes to press Putin to comply with earlier peace agreements there. Though Earnest acknowledges the Russian track record is not encouraging. Scott Horsley, NPR News, the White House. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.