Trump Russia Ties: Rex Tillerson To Avoid NATO Meeting For Moscow Visit

The State Department spokeswoman said Tillerson would not have a separate, NATO-focused meeting the 26 foreign ministers in Washington but rather that they would meet in the counter-Islamic State talks. Despite years of leadership by the U.S., Trump has only provided notional support for the Cold War-era alliance that provided a military counterweight to the Soviet Union in Europe.

US State Secretary Rex Tillerson will not attend a meeting of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation foreign ministers in Brussels on April 5-6, a US State Department's spokesperson told Sputnik.

Quoting unnamed former USA officials, Reuters reported that Tillerson was skipping the semiannual meeting in Brussels to instead attend talks between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the president's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, which are expected April 6-7.

China's President Xi Jinping, left, meets Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 19.

Two sources told Reuters that Tillerson then expects to visit Moscow on April 12.

A United States official speaking on the condition of anonymity said: "It feeds this narrative that somehow the Trump administration is playing footsy with Russian Federation". "You don't want to do your early business with the world's great autocrats".

Tillerson is expected to stay alongside Trump and greet the Chinese president on his visit to the USA on April 6 and 7.

"If that's the case, it's an absolute disgrace and I'll do whatever I can to stop the United States from going down this path".

"Given the challenge that Russian Federation poses, not just to the United States but to Europe, it's critical to engage on the basis of a united front if at all possible", the diplomat said.

  • Zachary Reyes