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Obama and Putin to hold talks over fight against IS in Syria

Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin will meet at the UN on Monday. Credit: PA

Barack Obama is to meet Vladimir Putin to discuss Russia's plans to counter Islamic State militants in Syria.

The American and Russian presidents will meet at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Monday.

White House officials said Mr Obama hoped to learn more about Russian plans to tackle IS by increasing its military presence in Syria.

"There's a lot of talk and now it's time for clarity and for Russia to come clean and come clear on just exactly how it proposes to be a constructive contributor to what is already an ongoing multi-nation coalition," said Celeste Wallander, the White House National Security Council's senior director for Russia.



Blatter: 'Russia will be fantastic' World Cup hosts

Outgoing Fifa president Sepp Blatter told Russian premier Vladimir Putin that the world governing body has complete trust in the country hosting the 2018 World Cup.

Blatter greets Putin ahead of today's qualifying draw. Credit: PA

Blatter met Putin ahead of the draw for the qualifying competition for the finals and the pair then shared the stage at the ceremony at St Petersburg's Konstantinovsky Palace.

The 79-year-old made no mention of the crisis that has engulfed Fifa, saying in his speech: "Today is an important day in the long and winding road to the World Cup 2018. We are on track, Russia will be a fantastic host. It will be a wonderful moment for Russia, the rest of the world and for football.

"Hundreds of thousands of visiting fans will come to Russia for the first time in their lives and will be met with warmth, friendship and real Russian hospitality."

Earlier, Blatter said to Putin there was "complete trust" in Russia's ability to host the tournament - significant given that the Swiss attorney general is investigating the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Blatter said: "We say 'yes' to Russia. Our support is especially important during the current geopolitical situation."

In response, Putin said to Blatter: "As promised, we will do all we can for sportsmen and fans alike to feel at home here."

Putin: We won World Cup bid fairly

Vladimir Putin has insisted that the 2018 football World Cup will go ahead in his country, despite the launch of an investigation into alleged corruption during the bidding process.

Putin doesn't believe the decision to host the World Cup can be changed Credit: Reuters

The Russian president said England's failure to secure the tournament came about because the bid team did not exhibit its country's potential as a host.

Prosecutors in Switzerland are conducting an investigation into allegations of money laundering surrounding Fifa's handling of the 2010 bidding process which led to Russia being named hosts for 2018 and Qatar for 2022.

But Mr Putin said: "If anyone has evidence, let them present it. We won in a fair fight and we are going to host the World Cup. Any other decision we will consider unfair."

"Great Britain did not exhibit all their potential for what it needed to do to win the World Cup.

"We don't think we are guilty of anything. We fought for the bid fairly. We don't think the decision can be changed. Construction of the stadia has begun and the next World Cup is very soon."

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