Putin informs Trump of outcome of meeting with Syria's Assad

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) shows the way to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during a meeting in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia November 20, 2017. Picture taken November 20, 2017. Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President discussed the civil war in Syria on Tuesday, with Putin stressing the importance of finding a political solution to the conflict after meeting with Syria’s president.

Trump and Putin spoke by telephone for about an hour, covering topics including Syria, Ukraine, Iran, North Korea and Afghanistan, a White House official said earlier.

Their conversation came after Putin hosted Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for three hours of talks on Monday, in preparation for a push by Moscow to end Syria’s conflict now that Islamic State has been driven out of its self-styled caliphate in Iraq and Syria.

According to Kremlin, Putin told Trump that the “Syrian leader confirmed adherence to the political process, to run a constitutional reform and president and parliament elections”.

“The message was sent of the necessity to keep the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Syria and to reach a political settlement based on principals to be worked out in a full-scale negotiation process in Syria,” the Kremlin said.

On Wednesday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani - whose countries back opposing sides in the Syria conflict - will travel to Russia for a meeting with Putin aimed at advancing the Syrian peace process.

Putin stressed the importance to Trump of what he called “coordinating of efforts between the special services of both countries”.

The two leaders also discussed North Korea, “stressing the expediency of finding the ways of solution by the diplomatic means”.

Writing by Denis Pinchuk; Editing by Larry King