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Russia Says Trump And Putin Have Agreed To Defeat ISIS In Syria

The Kremlin has issued what it says is a joint statement after the leaders met on the sidelines of APEC, but the White House has not officially confirmed it.

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Russia has issued what it says is a joint statement from Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump committing to a united effort to defeat ISIS in Syria.

The statement was posted on the Kremlin's website on Saturday morning but, hours after it was published, there was no official confirmation from the White House.

The statement says Trump and Putin "agreed to maintain open military channels of communication between military professionals" and confirmed that "these efforts will be continued until the final defeat of ISIS is achieved".

Russia said the statement was coordinated by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov after the two country's presidents met on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Danang, Vietnam. Trump and Putin were photographed chatting while walking to have a summit photograph taken.

But some people asked why, three hours later, nothing had been released by the White House.

Trump boards AF1 in Da Nang to head to Hanoi. Still nothing from White House on the Trump/Putin joint statement on… https://t.co/cQhTexMWd8

Trump and Putin agreed to support existing military communication channels between Russia and U.S., per statement o… https://t.co/WmTje7Ornw

@POTUS A Kremlin spokesman is quoted by #Russia state media saying Putin and @POTUS have approved a joint statement… https://t.co/MMpPNXlFHA

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The statement says Trump and Putin agreed there is "no military solution to the conflict" in Syria, but confirmed that the "ultimate political solution" must be achieved through the Geneva process.

It also stressed the leaders' commitment to Syria’s "sovereignty, unity, independence, territorial integrity and non-sectarian character".

White House officials had previously said on Friday that there would be no official meeting between Trump and Putin, since diplomats had not reached a full agreement on Syria.

Full Trump-Putin statement as published by the Kremlin:

President Trump and President Putin today, meeting on the margins of the APEC conference in Danang, Vietnam, confirmed their determination to defeat ISIS in Syria. They expressed their satisfaction with successful US-Russia enhanced de-confliction efforts between US and Russian military professionals that have dramatically accelerated ISIS’s losses on the battlefield in recent months. The Presidents agreed to maintain open military channels of communication between military professionals to help ensure the safety of both US and Russian forces and de-confliction of partnered forces engaged in the fight against ISIS. They confirmed these efforts will be continued until the final defeat of ISIS is achieved.

The Presidents agreed that there is no military solution to the conflict in Syria. They confirmed that the ultimate political solution to the conflict must be forged through the Geneva process pursuant to UNSCR 2254. They also took note of President Assad’s recent commitment to the Geneva process and constitutional reform and elections as called for under UNSCR 2254. The two Presidents affirmed that these steps must include full implementation of UNSCR 2254, including constitutional reform and free and fair elections under UN supervision, held to the highest international standards of transparency, with all Syrians, including members of the diaspora, eligible to participate. The Presidents affirmed their commitment to Syria’s sovereignty, unity, independence, territorial integrity, and non-sectarian character, as defined in UNSCR 2254, and urged all Syrian parties to participate actively in the Geneva political process and to support efforts to ensure its success.

Finally President Trump and President Putin confirmed the importance of de-escalation areas as an interim step to reduce violence in Syria, enforce ceasefire agreements, facilitate unhindered humanitarian access, and set the conditions for the ultimate political solution to the conflict. They reviewed progress on the ceasefire in southwest Syria that was finalized the last time the two Presidents met in Hamburg, Germany on July 7, 2017. The two presidents, today, welcomed the Memorandum of Principles concluded in Amman, Jordan, on November 8, 2017, between the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America. This Memorandum reinforces the success of the ceasefire initiative, to include the reduction, and ultimate elimination of foreign forces and foreign fighters from the area to ensure a more sustainable peace. Monitoring this ceasefire arrangement will continue to take place through the Amman Monitoring Center, with participation by expert teams from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Russian Federation, and the United States.

The two Presidents discussed the ongoing need to reduce human suffering in Syria and called on all UN member states to increase their contributions to address these humanitarian needs over the coming months.

Hazel is a breaking news reporter and curation editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Hazel Shearing at hazel.shearing@buzzfeed.com.

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