In dueling speeches before the UN General Assembly, Obama branded the Syrian leader a child-killing tyrant while Putin said the world should support Assad against the Islamic State group.
    
The Russian leader urged UN General Assembly members to unite to fight the jihadist group and warned that he plans to step up support for Assad's forces and has not ruled out air strikes.
    
The US and Russian presidents clinked glasses and shook hands at lunch with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon after their addresses, but nothing could disguise the gulf in their positions.
    
Putin and Obama later met for 90 minutes for talks the Russian leader dubbed 'constructive and business-likes' and a senior US official called a 'business-like back and forth.'

Putin appeared pleased that Obama had agreed to Russia having a role in the debate, and said, "In my opinion there is a basis to work on shared problems together."
    
Both leaders agreed there should be a process of political transition in Syria but, the US official added, they 'fundamentally disagreed' on the role of Assad.
    
"I think the Russians certainly understood the importance of there being a political resolution in Syria and there being a process that pursues a political resolution," the official said.
    
"We have a difference about what the outcome of that process would be," he added.\

 

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