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Putin, Trump Agree To Joint Efforts Against IS In Syria

U.S. President Donald Trump (R) and Russia's President Vladimir Putin talk as they make their way to take the "family photo" during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders' summit, November 11, 2017

Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed that they would continue joint efforts in fighting Islamic State in Syria, in a joint statement approved on the sidelines of a summit in Vietnam, the Kremlin said November 11.

The White House did not immediately respond to questions about the Kremlin announcement or the conversation the Kremlin said the two leaders had on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in the Vietnamese resort of Danang.

The Kremlin said the statement on Syria was coordinated by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson especially for the meeting in Danang.

Putin and Trump reaffirmed their commitment to Syria's sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity and called on all parties to the Syrian conflict to take an active role in the Geneva political process, it said.

Russia and the United States agree there is no military solution to the Syrian conflict, according to the text of the joint statement published on the Kremlin's website.

Russia's Interfax news agency reports they also promised to maintain existing Russian-US military communication channels to prevent "serious incidents involving the forces of partners combating IS".

Reports in recent days talked about a U.S. Russian agreement on Syria, but the statement published appears to be limited in nature and not a road-map to a comprehensive solution to Syria's crisis.

Television pictures from Danang showed Trump and Putin chatting amicably on November 11 as they walked together for the "family photograph" at the APEC summit.

Earlier pictures from the summit show Trump walking up to Putin, who sits at the table, and patting him on the back. The two lean in to speak to each other and clasp each other briefly as they have a verbal exchange.

Although the White House had said no official meeting was planned, Trump and Putin also shook hands at a dinner on November 10.

After emphasizing during last year's U.S. presidential campaign that it would be positive if the United States and Russia could work together on world problems, Trump has had limited contact with Putin since taking office.

Trump publicly sitting down with Putin also brings back to attention the issue of Russian meddling in last year's election, which remains under investigation.

Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, has been indicted in the probe along with his former deputy, Rick Gates.

Trump is on the fourth leg of a 12-day tour of Asia.

With reporting by Reuters and AFP