President Barack Obama will huddle with the leaders of Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy and France next week to discuss the fight against the Islamic State group, the White House said Thursday.
The leaders will gather in Turkey on the sidelines of the Group of 20 economic summit, regrouping after diplomats emerge from a second round of talks on Syria's crisis in Vienna over the weekend. The White House said the leaders will also discuss the situation in Ukraine, where the U.S. accuses Russia of fomenting unrest.
Russia, which is circulating a new proposal to end the Syrian conflict, won't participate in the meeting in Turkey, and Obama had no plans to hold a formal meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin while both are in Turkey for the G20 summit. But Obama's national security adviser, Susan Rice, said Obama and Putin would have "ample opportunity for discussion" during informal run-ins at the summit.
Rice said Obama hoped to use his meetings in Turkey and during stops later next week in Asia to "make incremental progress" on the Syria crisis and the related fight against IS.
"I don't think anybody expects a single outcome that all of a sudden readily resolves all of these difficult issues," Rice said.
Obama departs on Saturday for a trip to Turkey, Malaysia and the Philippines. A key goal for his trip is to promote the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal the U.S. recently struck with nations in the Asia-Pacific and in North America. He also hopes to rally support for a global climate deal that world leaders hope to finalize in Paris within weeks.
While in Turkey, the White House says Obama will meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In Asia, Obama will hold his first meeting with Australia's new prime minister. He'll also hold separate meetings with the leaders of Canada, Malaysia, Japan, Laos and the Philippines.