Russian Response To Strikes Disappointing, Unsurprising: Rex Tillerson

"My priority is now to continue contact with the United States and others in the run up to the G7 meeting on 10-11 April", he said.

"Judging by the statement made by Boris Johnson, he now has different priorities, namely - discussions with G7 counterparts of the situation in Syria and "Russian support for Bashar Assad".

He added that the U.S. intervention would drag the region further into war and could play a role in the expansion of Islamic State militant group.

Rather, the Florida Republican said, the US must work to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power before it can hope to defeat ISIS.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Friday termed the USA missile strikes on a Syrian military air base as an "act of aggression".

"Clearly, that requires the participation of the regime with the support of their allies", he said, "And we're hopeful that Russian Federation will choose to play a constructive role in supporting ceasefires through their own Astana talks, but also, ultimately, through Geneva".

"We call on Russian Federation to do everything possible to bring about a political settlement in Syria and work with the rest of the worldwide community to ensure that the shocking events of the last week are never repeated", he said.

Pressing Lavrov on Russia's failure to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons stockpile is likely to be part of the agenda.

"All I can say right now this is definitely an act of aggression", Lavrov said, according to his televised remarks reported by Russia Today.

"I find it very disappointing but sadly I have to tell you not all that surprising", Tillerson added.

Moscow has said it doesn't believe Assad's forces carried out the attack on Thursday that involved children and called for a "thorough and impartial" investigation.

"Yes", the top diplomat answered. Tillerson's visit is still said to be on the agenda. "We do not think we need a dialogue with London more than it needs it", the Foreign Ministry said.

Since taking office in February, Tillerson has shunned the spotlight and the press.

"We will continue to talk with them about how this undermines any hope of improving relations, not just with the United States, but it's - it's pretty evident that they are taking similar tactics into electoral processes throughout Europe and so they're really undermining any hope for improved relations with many European countries as well", he said.

  • Leroy Wright