At the time, Kraft said he gave the ring to Putin. Now he seems to want it back.
It’s unclear if Obama acted as any kind of go-between in the Kraft-Putin dispute. Perhaps there was no time for such light-hearted fare as the two leaders took up their differing views on the Syrian civil war – a conflict that threatens to engulf the region as it rages on.
After their Monday afternoon tête-à-tête in Northern Ireland, where the two men gathered with other leaders for the annual G8 summit of industrialized countries, Obama said the US and Russia continue to have “differing perspectives on the problem” of Syria’s 26-month-old civil war.
The two did try to paper over their differences, saying that both sides want to see a negotiated settlement to the conflict. Putin said he and Obama “agreed to push the partiers to the negotiating table,” while Obama said the US and Russia agree on the need “to try to resolve the issue through political means, if possible.”
A US-Russia plan for Syria peace talks in Geneva has stalled, with a conference originally set for May now envisioned for July at best.
But there were no signs that Obama was able to convince Putin that his decision, announced last week, to begin supplying US arms to Syria’s rebels will enhance the likelihood of bringing the warring factions to peace talks.
Obama took his case to Putin even as new polls in the US show that a majority of Americans don’t approve of the president’s about-face on getting the US more deeply involved in the Syrian conflict. A new Gallup poll finds that 54 percent disapprove of direct US military aid to the rebels, while 37 percent approve.