Presidents Obama, Putin Meet At G20 Amid Rising Tension

Syria tops priority list of world leaders gathering to attend annual G20 Summit in Russia.
8:22 | 09/05/13

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Transcript for Presidents Obama, Putin Meet At G20 Amid Rising Tension
This is a special report from ABC news. Hello everyone -- Hernandez in New York with his ABC news digital special for. Report -- the leaders of the top twenty economies are gathered in Saint Petersburg Russia today. Just a couple of hours ago President Obama shook hands. Russian president Vladimir Putin the two cordial despite the debate over series -- see there with there handshake. Now -- not officially on the agenda at the G-20 summit but it's definitely not being brushed aside. Officials most likely using their free time to discuss a possible strike between meetings. Now let's bring in ABC's -- Rania who is in Saint Petersburg. Hear it. The interactions between President Obama and -- put we saw that handshake. Looked okay how are things going so far. Well that was the interesting thing right where everybody expected these two leaders to be fighting duking it out. But when President Obama got out of the car it's like nothing even happened so that was the only indication we've seen so far the only interaction between the two leaders. There currently at a dinner they'll be going to -- -- very shortly. Where they may have a chance to interact again they don't have any plans to meet one on one. But they will obviously be in the same meetings in the same room and there's a chance -- him -- there. Speaking of being in the same room there's word that -- seating arrangements for change just to get a little bit more distance between. The two world leaders can you expand on that. Well there was one Russian report saying that they had. Decided to split them up and put them on opposite ends of the table. That we asked the White House -- about that and they say they there's -- first -- heard of it they don't think that that's actually an accurate report. But you know certainly everybody in the room is looking at the body language between these two leaders because it's -- like you said the big topic of the day. So we have the president's deputy Press Secretary is accompanying him to the summit get a little insight into how Obama plans to make his case for Syria while he's there obviously this is a conference. -- economic issues are going to be discussed how does the president plan to proceed. Right well like you said this is eight to -- and economic and trade conference usually or some and I should say. But President Putin has said that he wants this to be raised at the dinner this evening. President Obama has also planning to raise it according to his aides on the sidelines of the meetings. They plan on he said that they plan on doing this on the margins is going to be talking to several of the leaders about the importance of to having a unified stand. Of the world showing that the chemical weapons are not something that -- have any place and then -- modern history. Interesting time for the president you know -- -- get some of these world leaders aside and talk to them and make the case for intervention in Syria meanwhile back at home. He's got a monitor members of congress who may or may not be going his way on this issue. Yeah -- like you said several members of congress from both parties are still trying to make up their mind of where they stand on this issue. The White House says that they feel very confident in the trend lines they feel -- they're gonna get to the point. We're congress will authorize. -- the use of force in Syria and the White House is now putting this in a terms of American leadership. They say that if the US doesn't do this there will be -- quote vacuum in the international community. Now let's talk about President -- for a moment. On the -- of this summit he -- some pretty strong comments he doesn't appear to be wavering from his stance against intervention in Syria he actually accused secretary of state John Kerry about lying saying quote he's lying I know he's lying. Tell us about some of -- rhetoric on the even now the beginning of this summit. Right well that was something that president Putin said yesterday and some televised remarks here in Russia. He was referring to secretary Kerry's testimony on the hill earlier this week. He accused secretary -- of denying the fact that there were al-Qaeda backed elements in Syria. Of course that doesn't seem to hold up when you look at the transcript of secretary Kerry's remarks he did talk about al-Qaeda backed groups. So but that it is an indicative I think. The B level of miss trust coming out of the Kremlin these days you know the the Russians really do think that the Americans want to go in and topple the Asad regime they point. To the case of Libya where the US study involved four ostensibly humanitarian reasons and then continued to to bomb. Government positions until. Until the Gaddafi government was -- it was toppled. So is this is a -- -- one more sign from the Russians that they really don't trust the US intentions here. About Germany -- hearing -- and apparently begun to pressure Russia to change. Its stance. What have you been here. Right well in Germany is one of Russia's closest allies in Europe it's one of the large -- largest trading partners in Europe. And it's a relationship that Russian typically values very much because it's AA it is such an -- and economic relationship at the very least. And so you know to keep in mind also that that Angela Merkel -- the chancellor of Germany has a very tough situation coming up as well. With regard to supporting this she's facing her own elections soon and she's very mindful of the fact that. One of her predecessors. Supported. The war in Iraq and ultimately lost his his place because of that. That was learned that just next week after the summit wraps up. The S foreign minister of Syria will be coming to Moscow how much pressure is expected. It is it expected that Syria may exert on rusher or vice Versa. Right well there's that that's right foreign minister -- of Syria is coming to Moscow next Monday he's going to meet with the Russian foreign minister. You know this is a long relationship going back decades of cooperation between. Russia and Syria. And obviously the Russians have been very reluctant they've been indeed have not. Thrown Assad under the bus they've been continue to provide him with arms without funding. And with political cover went by vetoing -- measures of some pressure against him and the united nations Security Council he will be very interesting to see. What happens on Monday's meeting at this point the Russians have shown no indication that they're willing to change their policy. In fact -- and doubling down on it and insisting that foreign intervention in Syria -- only leads to further instability in the country and in the region. -- let's go back in time a little bit President Obama was initially supposed to precede these -- that G-20 summit in Russia with. One or two day meeting with Vladimir put the heat cut that meeting out out altogether after -- Stephen Edward snowed in in a silent. Is that a share was still. -- pervasive in these talks between and they relationship between Clinton and Obama. Yeah well this was supposed to happen this week right before this summit the two were supposed to get together in Moscow and talk about US Russia relations. -- -- the -- an issue according to US officials is really just the straw that broke the camel's back. They say that there were a whole host of other things that work were eating -- the relationship they say the Russians were not responsive. When the US proposed several ideas on things from. Arms control to missile defense. And they saw no reason to go forward with the talks. And then once -- -- once Edwards that it was granted asylum they say that was the last straw they -- interest in -- forward. Those issues are still big things in the relationship obviously Syria something that they disagree -- on very deeply. But keep in mind that these are other issues you know what. If they ever get past this they're still a bunch of other things that they'll have to deal with again missile defense arms control. Going forward for many years so that don't discount the fact that that those issues are very important and -- still big very big divide between the US. Russia all right you're writing -- thank you so much for joining us from Saint Petersburg. You can of course get a complete recap right here on For now -- Hernandez in New York with his ABC news digital special report. This has been a special report from the.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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