Kerry is standing in for absent U.S. President Barack Obama at an Asian economic summit.
An American official traveling with Kerry said the secretary spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin for about 15 minutes in a conversation that focused primarily on organizing an international conference to help Syria create a transitional government. The official said the pair agreed on the importance of organizing the conference by a mid-November target date set by the United Nations.
The official, who was not authorized to discuss the private meeting and spoke on condition of anonymity, said Kerry also spoke briefly with Chinese President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng).
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