Trump, Putin Issue Joint Statement on Syrian Conflict
The presidents of the U.S. and Russia have approved a joint statement on Syria, agreeing that "there is no military solution to the conflict."
Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin approved the statement on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Vietnam. Russian officials said Putin and Trump had a conversation before the group photo ceremony for APEC leaders in Danang.
In the statement the two world leaders repeated the urgency of destroying the Islamic State and agreed "to maintain open military channels of communication between military professionals to help ensure the safety of both U.S. and Russian forces," as well as to prevent dangerous incidents involving the forces of allies fighting the Islamic State.
Trump and Putin confirmed their commitment to Syria's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity and also called on the parties involved in the Syrian conflict to use the Geneva process to find a resolution.
The statement was released by the Russian ministry of foreign affairs, which said the document had been drafted by experts from Russia and the United States and coordinated by Russian Foreign Minster Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
UN Security Council to Discuss Venezuela Crisis
U.N. officials say the United States and Italy have organized an informal U.N. Security Council meeting on Venezuela, aimed at preventing the crisis in that country from turning into a security threat.
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley will chair the informal meeting on Monday, which will include addresses from U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein and Organization of American States Secretary-General Luis Almagro.
The meeting comes as Venezuela faces the possibility of defaulting on its debt. On Friday, a committee of Venezuelan creditors postponed until next week a decision on whether state oil company PDVSA has officially defaulted on its debt payments.
“As the Venezuelan economy continues to crumble, the situation will likely only worsen, especially as the country is at risk of defaulting on its debt,” the U.N. note said.
The statement also said that over the past six months, more than 500,000 Venezuelans have fled political turmoil in the country, as well as fleeing soaring inflation and widespread shortages of food and medicine.