On Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry said he was “hopeful” that Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Barack Obama “will have a good conversation where there will be a road forward” after Putin declared that American intervention in Syria without United Nations approval would amount to an act of aggression.
According to Reuters, Putin said that “anything that is outside the U.N. Security Council is aggression, except self-defense. Now what Congress and the U.S. Senate are doing in essence is legitimizing aggression. This is inadmissible in principle.”
Putin also accused Kerry of lying to Congress about whether al-Qaeda had infiltrated the Syrian opposition, which Kerry said was inaccurate.
Obama and Putin shook hands on Thursday at the start of the G20 Summit. Obama was set to meet with Putin ahead of the G20 meetings in St. Petersburg, Russia on Thursday and Friday but canceled that meeting after Russia granted NSA leaker Edward Snowden temporary asylum.
Obama will reportedly meet “on the sidelines of the G-20 summit with France’s President Francois Hollande, China’s President Xi Jinping and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, according to a White House official.”
France said it would back the potential use of military force in Syria, while China has suggested that the United States not intervene. During the hearing, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel suggested Russia may have provided the Assad regime in Syria with chemical weapons.
Kerry made his comments in an exchange with Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) during his testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.