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Obama and Putin May Meet at APEC Summit

The leaders last saw each other in August at the G20 summit in St. Petersburg but stopped short of a bilateral meeting.

President Vladimir Putin could meet U.S. President Barack Obama on the sidelines of an economic summit in Indonesia on Monday to discuss a range of topics including Syria, a Putin aide said Thursday.

"This was our proposal, which was taken up immediately by the American side," Yury Ushakov said at a news briefing, Interfax reported. "We think the meeting will take place.”

The meeting would take place in Bali at a summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, or APEC, forum,

which is aimed at developing trade and economic cooperation within a group of 21 countries from the Asia-Pacific region. Apart from Russia and the U.S., group members include China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and Canada.

The two leaders plan to discuss the "development of agreements and the prospects of working together on Syria," Ushakov said, among other issues.

Despite last week's United Nations Security Council agreement on the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons that codified an earlier deal brokered by Russia and the U.S., bilateral relations between the countries have been deteriorating since Putin returned to the presidency last year.

The U.S. Senate passed the Magnitsky Act in December, banning entry to the U.S. for Russian officials suspected of involvement in the 2009 death of Hermitage Capital lawyer Sergei Magnitsky and other suspected human rights violators. Russia retaliated with the Dima Yakovlev law, which prohibited U.S. adoptions of Russian children and banned entry to certain U.S. officials implicated in human rights abuses.

Last September, Obama skipped the APEC summit in Vladivostok, which some saw as a response to Putin backing out of last May's Group of Eight meeting at Camp David near Washington, D.C.

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