From Mar-a-Lago, Trump defends Syrian airstrikes

Tillerson is a former boss of oil company Exxon Mobil which has enormous projects in Russian Federation.

Rohani called the USA strike a "blatant violation" of Syrian sovereignty while dismissing reports that Assad's regime was behind the deadly gas attack as "baseless".

Tillerson spoke after a meeting of the "likeminded" countries was hastily arranged on the sidelines of the summit of the Group of Seven industrialized economies in Italy, days after the US for the first time launched airstrikes against Assad's forces. "I hope that this will be the first item on the agenda", McCain said. At the UN Security Council, US Ambassador Nikki Haley mocked Moscow for failing to rid Syria of chemical weapons under a 2013 deal. On Monday, Russia's general staff said that two locations where chemical weapons might remain are in territory controlled by Syrian rebels.

In 2013, Donald Trump repeatedly urged President Barack Obama against taking action in Syria in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack carried out by the regime of Bashar al-Assad, warning that it would "bring nothing but trouble" for the US.

Russian Federation has defended the Syrian government, a staunch ally, against USA allegations it was behind the sarin nerve gas attack in Syria's Idlib province, saying there is no evidence to underpin such an allegation.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says there could still be new sanctions imposed on Russian military officers over their support for the Syrian government - even though G-7 allies ignored his call for new punitive measures against Moscow. Iran could also use Hezbollah and other Shiite militias to hit American forces fighting the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, or attack the many USA allies in the region.

Then he headed to Europe to gather with the foreign ministers of the other major industrialized nations before venturing on eastward to become the first Trump Cabinet member to visit Moscow - and possibly meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The criticism from the foreign policy establishment's left and right that has dogged Tillerson's tenure is dying down. In interviews broadcast Sunday, Tillerson said defeating Islamic State remains the top focus.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with his Belarus' counterpart in Saint Petersburg on April 3, 2017. Instead, he was thrust to the forefront after photos of the bodies piled in heaps in Idlib, Syria, dramatically altered the agenda.

Meanwhile, Assad's allies reportedly threatened retaliation if the US strikes again.

Tillerson's Moscow meetings, say analysts, could set the tone for U.S. -Russia relations.

The Free Syrian Army grew out of protests against the Assad regime that eventually turned violent.

After the cruise missiles crashed down in Syria, Tillerson was calm and commanding in a question-and-answer session with journalists.

Trump has changed his tack, drawing Russian opprobrium as a result.

Asked whether he feared the world was on the verge of a new war, Trudeau said the global community needed to come together more now than ever and address its challenges together.

The challenge will be greater in Russia's capital this week. Diplomats gathered in Italy as USA officials in Washington floated the possibility of new sanctions on the Syrian and Russian military, plus the threat of additional US military action if Assad's government continues attacking civilians.

"But, I think it's clear that the starting position for these discussions are not that good", said Kortunov. The centerpiece of that diplomacy will come Tuesday morning when Tillerson takes part in a meeting of "likeminded" nations on Syria.

Trump's previous warm words for Russian Federation were an issue at home, where intelligence agencies accuse Moscow of using computer hacking to help him win last year's presidential election. The FBI is investigating whether Trump campaign officials colluded with Moscow, which the White House denies.

Sen. Marco Rubio on Sunday said that Tillerson's strategy was "based on assumptions that aren't going to work".

  • Leroy Wright