Obama, Putin discuss Syria, Ukraine at summit: White House

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(Reuters) -- U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the Syria crisis and the situation in Ukraine during a meeting Monday on the sidelines of the climate summit in Paris, a White House official said.

Obama stressed the importance of targeting Islamic State militants in Syria and not focusing military attacks against rebel groups who oppose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the official said on customary condition of anonymity.

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"The two presidents discussed the imperative of making progress on the Vienna process to bring about a ceasefire and political resolution to the civil war in Syria," the official said, referring to international talks in the Austrian capital on the Syria crisis.

Obama told Putin he believes Assad must leave power as part of a that transition, and both leaders said their foreign ministers will continue to work on the diplomatic process, the official added.

Obama pays tribute to Paris attack victims while at climate summit:

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President Obama pays tribute to Paris attack victims
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Obama, Putin discuss Syria, Ukraine at summit: White House
President Barack Obama, right, French President Francois Hollande, second from right, and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo arrive at the Bataclan, site of one of the Paris terrorists attacks, to pay their respects to the victims, after Obama arrived in town for the COP21 climate change conference, on Monday, Nov. 30, 2015, in Paris. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Barack Obama, right, French President Francois Hollande, second from right, and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo pause for a moment of silence at the Bataclan, site of one of the Paris terrorists attacks, after Obama arrived in town for the COP21 climate change conference, on Monday, Nov. 30, 2015, in Paris. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Barack Obama, right, French President Francois Hollande, second from right, and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo pause for a moment of silence at the Bataclan, site of one of the Paris terrorists attacks, after Obama arrived in town for the COP21 climate change conference, on Monday, Nov. 30, 2015, in Paris. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Barack Obama, right, and French President Francois Hollande place flowers at the Bataclan, site of one of the Paris terrorists attacks, to pay his respects after arriving in town for the COP21 climate change conference Monday, Nov. 30, 2015, in Paris. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Barack Obama, right, French President Francois Hollande, second from right, and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo pause for a moment of silence at the Bataclan, site of one of the Paris terrorists attacks, after Obama arrived in town for the COP21 climate change conference, on Monday, Nov. 30, 2015, in Paris. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Barack Obama, left, and French President Francois Hollande walk off after a moment of silence at the Bataclan, site of one of the Paris terrorists attacks, after Obama arrived in town for the COP21 climate change conference, on Monday, Nov. 30, 2015, in Paris. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
US President Barack Obama (R) pays his respects with French President Francois Hollande (2nd R) and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo (not seen) at a memorial outside the Bataclan in Paris , France, November 30, 2015. AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (hidden) pays tribute to the victims of the November 13 Paris terrorist attacks at a makeshift memorial in front of the Bataclan concert hall on November 30, 2015 in Paris. AFP PHOTO/MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP / MIGUEL MEDINA (Photo credit should read MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama leaves the Bataclan place after having pay tribute to the victims of the November 13 Paris terrorist attacks at a makeshift memorial in front of the Bataclan concert hall on November 30, 2015 in Paris. AFP PHOTO/MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP / MIGUEL MEDINA (Photo credit should read MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)
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Obama expressed regret over the recent death of a Russian pilot after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane at its border with Syria, the official said. The plane downing triggered Moscow's deployment of an advanced missile system to Syria. Obama encouraged de-escalation between Russia and Turkey, the official said.

During the discussion, the American president also emphasized a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis, adding that sanctions against Russia can be rolled back when Moscow honors the Minsk cease-fire accord, according to the White House official, who spoke on background.

The two leaders met for 30 minutes alongside the climate talks in Paris, the Kremlin said separately.

RELATED: See more photos from the climate change talks in Paris

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World leaders meet during the UN conference on climate change
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Obama, Putin discuss Syria, Ukraine at summit: White House
French President Francois Hollande, front center, poses with world leaders for a group photo as part of the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. (Ian Langsdon/Pool via AP)
U.S. President Barack Obama, centre left, and other world leaders pose for a group photo as part of the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. (Ian Langsdon/Pool via AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and U.S. President Barack Obama shake hands at the COP21 UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris, France, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. (Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
French President Francois Hollande, right, and Ukraine's President Petro Porochenko arrive for a group photo as part of the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. (Ian Langsdon/Pool via AP)
U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks during the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, on Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
U.S. President Barack Obama, left, talks with President of Djibouti Ismail Omar Guelleh during a plenary session at COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, on Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
British Prime Minister David Cameron, let, Britain's Prince Charles, center left, Prince Albert II of Monaco, center right, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrive for a group photo as part of the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. More than 150 world leaders are meeting under heightened security, for the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21/CMP11), also known as "Paris 2015" from November 30 to December 11. (Martin Bureau/Pool Photo via AP)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses world leaders at the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
French President Francois Hollande, left, greets U.S. President Barack Obama as he arrives for the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. (Guillaume Horcajuelo/Pool via AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin looks on during a plenary session at the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, on Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel watches President Barack Obama deliver remarks during the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, on Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
U.S President Barack Obama attends the opening ceremony of the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, Pool)
U.S. President Barack Obama, left, meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping during their meeting held on the sidelines of the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
The honor guards are reflected in the limousine carrying Russian President Vladimir Putin, center left, as he arrives for the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, Pool)
Police officers with sniffer dogs of the bomb disposal unit lab patrol at the entrance of the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
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