Obama & Putin Collide at G20 Conference as Syria War Looms: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Obama and Putin
Above: President Obama arrives in Russia for the first time in months.

President Barack Obama has arrived in Saint Petersburg, Russia, today for the beginning of the G-20 conference, a meeting of the world’s 20 largest economies.

Tensions are expected to be high as the world stumbles closer to a multi-nation war in and over the fate of Syria.

Here is what you need to know about this major world summit:

1. Obama and Putin Have Agreed to Meet

obama and Putin Saint petersberg

Putin Greets Obama at the G20 Conference in Saint Petersburg, Russia. (RT)

As Obama headed toward Russia, it seemed unclear as to whether he and Russian President Vladimir Putin would agree to meet after recent public disputes, however, RT now confirms that the two have agreed to a meet while at the summit.

Above, is a photo of the “highly anticipate” handshake between Obama and Putin as the Russian President greets arriving world leaders.

2. This is Obama’s First time in Russia Since Talk of Intervention in Syria and Snowden’s Arrival in Moscow

Obama Putin G20

Tensions are currently high between the Russian and American Presidents marking one of the lowest points in the two nation’s relationship since the Cold War.

President Obama canceled a trip to Moscow earlier this year shortly after it was released the Russia was granting asylum to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, who was responsible for one of the largest leaks of confidential information in U.S. history.

Recently, Obama and Putin have been on the wrong side of the civil war in Syria. Russia has been a long supporter of the repressive Assad regime. As the possibility of a U.S. military strike against the Syrian government grows more likely, tensions between the United States and Russia are expected to mount.

To illustrate the nature of the stand off between these two world leaders, the Daily Mail is currently reporting that there was a last minute change of the seating plan at the conference to keep President Obama and President Putin far away from one another.

3. Syria is Expected to Dominate the Discussion



Although the G-20 is primarily a meeting to discuss world economy, Syria is expected to dominate the conversation as the conflict threatens to bring the region, and the world, closer to the brink of war.

Many of the nations attending the conference would likely become involved in the conflict either due to proximity, economic interest, or alliances.

4. BRICS is Creating a $100 Billion Foreign Exchange Fund


A picture taken from inside the conference. (Getty)

Despite the tensions being caused by the conflict in Syria, economic talks continue as expected. A collection of the world’s emerging economies, known as BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), have agreed upon the creation of a $100 Billion dollar “foreign exchange reserve fund” according to the RT.

The purpose of this foreign exchange reserve funds are to help nations, or groups of nations, to regulate exchange rates by investing in bonds or gold deposits in the other nations involved.

5. This is the Fifth Anniversary of G-20


Picture taken outside the talks in Saint Petersburg. (Getty)

The 2013 Saint Petersburg conference marks the fifth anniversary of the G20. The yearly conference, which was created for the world’s largest economies in 2008, includes Australia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, United Sates, India, Russia, South Africa, Turkey, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, France, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, China, Indonesia, Japan, and South Korea.

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