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Vladimir Putin Says He Welcomes A Change In Relations With 'Partners'

Following a meeting of the Group of 20 in Turkey, Russian president Vladimir Putin signaled that his country's isolation from the West may soon be a thing of the past.

Putin said Russia had proposed cooperating with the United States and others in the fight against terrorism, but that the U.S. rebuffed Russia's offer.

"Life indeed moves on, often very quickly, and teaches us lessons," Putin said. "It seems to me that everyone is coming around to the realization that we can wage an effective fight only together."

The Wall Street Journal reports:

"Speaking Monday before leaving Antalya, Turkey, Mr. Putin suggested Russia's estrangement from the West is ending, noting a clear interest among European officials to renew ties in several spheres and characterizing the summit as less tense than last year's meeting in Australia. Mr. Putin left that summit early.

"'If our partners think the time has come to change our relations, then we will welcome that,' Mr. Putin said. 'We have never refused joint efforts or closed doors.'"

Russia is, of course, Syrian president Bashar al Assad's most potent ally and that's been a source of a huge disagreement with the United States, which wants Assad gone.

However, the U.S. is using more tempered language lately. President Obama and Putin had a face-to-face meeting on the sidelines of the G20 this week. The two presidents, the White House said, agreed about the need for "a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political transition."

Visiting Paris on Tuesday, Secretary of State John Kerry said the international community was "weeks away from the possibility of a big transition for Syria."

Kerry also acknowledged Russia's importance to the process:

"The faster Russia and Iran and others give life to this process, the faster the violence can taper down and we can isolate [the Islamic State] and Al Nusra and begin to do what our strategy has always set out to do."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.