(Adds Putin quotes, context)
HANGZHOU, China, Sept 5 President Vladimir Putin
said on Monday he had grounds to believe Russia and the United
States could strike a long-awaited deal on Syria within days,
allowing them to intensify the fight against Islamist militants
in the country.
Putin made his comments during a news conference at the
close of the G20 summit in China where he held talks with U.S.
President Barack Obama. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also met on the event's
sidelines and discussed Syria, but were unable to reach an
Obama says the United States and Russia are working to try
to finalise a ceasefire in Syria that would allow more
deliveries of humanitarian aid. The two countries
are also thought to be trying to reach a deal on some form of
limited military cooperation.
Putin said it was premature to give any details about the
terms of a potential agreement, but said he felt a deal was
"I'm really hoping that this agreement can be reached and I
have grounds to believe it could happen in the next few days,"
"If it does, then we can say that our joint work with the
United States in fighting terrorist organisations, including in
Syria, will be significantly improved and intensified."
Russia has backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but the
United States has worked with what it says are moderate
opposition forces fighting against him. Moscow has sometimes
questioned whether U.S.-backed rebels really are moderate.
(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Writing by Christian
Lowe/Andrew Osborn; Editing by Jack Stubbs)