Tillerson brings tough line to Moscow over Russian subsidy for Syrian regime

MOSCOW — As Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived here Tuesday with a direct that Moscow behind divided from a Syrian government, Russian Foreign Ministry officials pronounced family with a United States had reached their lowest indicate given a Cold War.


Following a U.S. barb strike on Syria final week, a Foreign Ministry pronounced it was endangered that a Trump administration competence be deliberation a similar blow opposite North Korea.

And even before Tillerson exited his craft in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin told a news discussion that a Kremlin has “information” that provocateurs are formulation to plant chemical substances in suburban Damascus and censure it on Syrian authorities. He gave no offer sum on a claim.

He pronounced a conditions in Syria reminded him of events in Iraq before a United States invaded in 2003, an reference to ungrounded assertions of weapons of mass drop that a George W. Bush administration used to transparent a war. He also pronounced Western countries divided over a choosing of President Trump were scapegoating Russia and Syria.

“We’ve seen all this before,” Putin said.

And a Russian ubiquitous staff has put a United States on notice, observant that another barb strike would be “unacceptable.”

Russia and Iran behind a supervision of President Bashar al-Assad, while insurgent factions upheld by a West and a partners have been mostly driven behind by curse attacks, including a use of a suspected haughtiness representative on a insurgent building final week that left during slightest 70 people dead.

Putin’s orator pronounced it remained misleading possibly a Russian personality would accommodate with Tillerson.

“I can't endorse yet,” Dmitry Peskov told The Washington Post after a private Russian broadcaster RBC reported that they would accommodate Wednesday.

Before withdrawal Italy — where he met with “like-minded” allies in a Group of Seven vital modernized economies and diplomats from mostly Muslim nations — Tillerson told reporters that a United States is aiming for a negotiated finish to 6 years of dispute in Syria and wants Russia’s assistance in ushering Assad out of office.

Claiming that Assad’s order “is entrance to an end,” Tillerson previewed his summary to Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

“We wish that a Russian supervision concludes that they have aligned themselves with an dangerous partner in Bashar al-Assad,” he said.

In what was in outcome an ultimatum, he pronounced Moscow contingency calculate a costs of remaining an fan of Assad, a Iranians and Lebanon’s Shiite association Hezbollah.

“Is that a long-term fondness that serves Russia’s interests?” he told reporters. “Or would Russia cite to realign with a United States, with other Western countries and Middle East countries that are seeking to solve a Syrian crisis?”

Russia has confirmed that a Syrian supervision airstrike final week strike a bureau where Syrian rebels were production chemical weapons in a northern Idlib province. After a U.S. barb strike, Peskov asserted that a Syrian supervision “has no chemical arms stockpiles. ”

Moscow says it over a partial of a 2013 agreement mandating that Russia manage a drop of Assad’s chemical-weapons arsenal. On Monday, Russia’s ubiquitous staff pronounced dual sites where chemical weapons competence sojourn are in domain tranquil by Syrian rebels.

But Tillerson told reporters that final week’s dispute with a suspected haughtiness representative shows that Moscow possibly did not take a obligations severely or was incompetent. In possibly case, he added, a eminence “doesn’t most matter to a dead.”

“We wish to soothe a pang of a Syrian people,” he said, and released an ultimatum: “Russia can be a partial of that destiny and play an critical role. Or Russia can contend a fondness with this group, that we trust is not going to offer Russia’s interests longer term.”

Tillerson’s revisit has a intensity to be an event or another pen in a escalation of tensions between a dual good powers.

In Washington, State Department orator Mark Toner deserted Russia’s idea that a poisonings were a outcome of a counsel irritation or “false flag” operation dictated to secretly inculpate a Assad government.

“It is transparent clear to us that this was carried out, and that this was carried out by a Syrian regime,” Toner said. “There was no fake flag.”

Assad’s shortcoming for a attack, Russia’s purpose in policing a fan and Assad’s domestic destiny will be discussed when Tillerson sees Lavrov on Wednesday, Toner said.

“If there is an invitation for him to accommodate with Putin, of march he’ll do so. we consider that’s a preference for a Kremlin to make and to announce, and adult until now, we’ve not seen such an offer extended,” Toner said.

Tillerson is singly competent to broach a unrelenting warning to a Russians. When he was a arch executive of ExxonMobil, he negotiated a understanding with a state-controlled gas association Rosneft, heading Putin to show a Order of Friendship on him. Tillerson gained a repute as being peaceful to travel out on appetite deals that did not accommodate his standards.

Diplomats during a assembly in Italy did not determine on a British offer to levy some-more sanctions on Russia over Syria, on tip of sanctions already in place over Ukraine. Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano pronounced ministers wish Russia to vigour Assad though warned, “We contingency not pull Russia into a corner.”

Anne Gearan in Washington contributed to this report.


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