Putin, Australian PM to meet at Beijing APEC summit: Kremlin

7th November 2014, Comments 0 comments

Vladimir Putin will meet Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who promised to "shirtfront" the Russian president over the MH17 plane crash, during a summit in Beijing next week, the Kremlin said on Friday.

"Australians turned (to us) with an official request for a meeting during an APEC summit and we are agreeing to such a meeting in China," Putin's top foreign policy adviser Yury Ushakov told reporters.

The meeting is being planned for November 11, the second day of the Beijing summit.

"It will be short," Ushakov said.

The two men are also expected to come face-to-face on the sidelines of a G20 gathering in Australia on November 15-16 which Abbott is hosting in Brisbane.

But the Kremlin's Ushakov stressed that their formal meeting will take place in Beijing, not in Brisbane at the request of Australian officials.

Last month Abbott vowed to "shirtfront" Putin over the loss of Australian lives in the downing of the Malaysian airliner over rebel-held Ukraine in July, using the Australian Rules Football term in which a player charges an opponent.

This week the Australian prime minister also said Putin would not be able to avoid a "conversation" about the crash.

But at the same time Abbott said he did not want the G20 summit to be overshadowed by their rift.

Australia -- along with the United States -- accuses Russian-backed rebels of shooting down the flight using a missile supplied by Moscow.

Russia has repeatedly denied the claim and pointed the finger at Kiev over the disaster, which killed all 298 people on board including 38 Australians citizens or residents.

Separately, while no bilateral meetings are being planned between Putin and US President Barack Obama, the two are still likely to speak in Beijing or Brisbane.

"The leaders have a good chance to speak on the sidelines," said the Kremlin's Ushakov.

"It's not difficult to guess that they will communicate in one form or another.

"Last month, Putin accused Obama of hostility after he listed "Russia's aggression" in eastern Ukraine among top global threats, along with Islamic State jihadists and the Ebola outbreak in Africa.

© 2014 AFP

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