HANGZHOU, CHINA (CBSMiami) — President Barack Obama is leaving the G-20 economic summit with no peace deal in Syria and under the cloud of North Korea’s latest missile test.
He had hoped to broker a ground-breaking deal with Vladimir Putin to coordinate air strikes against ISIS and Al-Qaeda-linked terrorists in Syria.
But at the last minute, Russia pulled back.
The proposed deal would have stopped their ally – Dictator Bashar Al Assad – from bombing civilians and U.S.-backed rebels – while also allowing aid into starving cities like Aleppo. Sadly, the city came under siege as the deal fell apart.
President Obama said they needed the Russians if they’re to make progress in Syria.
“If we do not get some of buy-in from the Russians on reducing the violence and easing the humanitarian crisis, then it’s difficult to see how we get to the next phase,” said President Obama.
Any alliance with Russia would be extraordinary given their brutal behavior inside Syria.
But Putin’s military might has made him indispensable. The White House is reluctant to use force and has no diplomatic backup plan.
The Mideast crisis overshadowed President Obama’s main mission at the G20 – to bridge tensions with China whose aggressive military expansion in Asia is rattling nerves.
With Asia already on edge, nuclear-armed North Korea test-fired three ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan.
There is plenty of very real tension behind closed doors. President Obama said he is concerned about growing anti-American sentiment in China, their aggressive military expansion, and its unfair trade practices. All of that has complicated his plan to refocus America’s economic and military might towards Asia.
A senior White House official said President Obama and Russian President Putin have agreed to keep trying to negotiate a cease-fire for Syria. The official said the two leaders directed their teams to meet again quickly, possibly as soon as later this week.