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

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
Putin Signs Turkey Economic Sanctions Decree

(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.

SEE ALSO: Smog chokes Chinese, Indian capitals as climate talks begin

"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:

4 PHOTOS
President Obama pays tribute to Paris attack victims
See Gallery
Obama, Putin discuss Syria, Ukraine at summit: White House
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)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

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

1 PHOTOS
World leaders meet during the UN conference on climate change
See Gallery
Obama, Putin discuss Syria, Ukraine at summit: White House
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

More from AOL.com:
Terrifying clowns spook residents in Wisconsin suburb
At least 16 prisoners killed in Guatemala jail riot
This new ISIS app brings terror straight to your cell phone

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners

Man Suspects His Wife Is Cheating On Him - Then His Daughter Reveals What's Really Going Man Suspects His Wife Is Cheating On Him - Then His Daughter Reveals What's Really Going
Nature Gets Revenge On Safari Hunter Who Killed Elephants And Lions For Sport Nature Gets Revenge On Safari Hunter Who Killed Elephants And Lions For Sport
20 Folks Recall Shocking Interview Moments That Made Them NOT Want the Job 20 Folks Recall Shocking Interview Moments That Made Them NOT Want the Job