Vladimir Putin called U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry a liar over the latter’s evidence presented in front of Congress this week. The drift seems to growing wide between Obama’s administration and the Putin administration as President Obama visits St. Petersburg for the G-20 summit.
In his testimony before Congress, Kerry downplayed any al-Qaeda influence on the Syrian rebels, which is the main reason why Putin tagged Kerry as a liar.
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Kerry was responding to a question
Speaking to his human rights council on Wednesday, Putin said: “This was very unpleasant and surprising for me. We talk to them (the Americans) and we assume they are decent people, but he is lying and he knows that he is lying. This is sad.”
According to the Associated Press, there was no clarity over what Putin was indicating, but a question was pointed towards Kerry while he was testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about whether al-Qaeda has impacted the opposition in Syria.
To this, Kerry answered that it was “basically incorrect” and also said that the opposition has “increasingly become more defined by its moderation.”
In his testimony, Kerry said that he does not believe that the majority of al-Qaeda are bad guys. He added that extremists form only 15 to 25 percent of the opposition including al-Nusra and many other groups that are fighting each other, even now.
Rift widening between Putin and Obama
Putin is not in consensus with the claims of Obama’s staff that Bashar Assad’s government in Syria is behind the lethal chemical weapon attacks.
Obama is getting support from French president Francois Hollande for military strikes over Syria as both the leaders believe that Assad’s army is behind the deadly chemical weapon attack in the country in the suburbs of Damascus.
However, President Putin, who is a host of the G20 summit, has close ties with President Assad’s regime, and will make all efforts to table his evidence to win the other heads of the states in St. Petersburg. He will try to convince the other members that the United States and France are rushing their decision of a possible military action without any solid evidence.
Putin, however, said that he will not deny joining the action against Syria if the United Nations comes out with a report against Assad in Syria.
Before this new dispute, there was controversy between the United States and Russia over the latter granting asylum to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden. Showing his displeasure, Obama canceled the planned summit meeting with Putin last month.