Theresa May, Donald Trump agree to press Russian Federation over Syria

The U.S. raised the stakes significantly on Monday when a senior U.S. official said Washington has made a preliminary conclusion that Russian Federation knew in advance of Syria's chemical weapons attack last week.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said Russian Federation faces a "big strategic choice" as America's top diplomat prepared to confront Moscow over its support for Syria's President Bashar Assad. "And so the strike was a message to Bashar al-Assad that your multiple violations of your agreements at the United Nations, your agreements under the Chemical Weapons Charter back in 2013, that those would not go without a response in the future".

Trudeau said Russian Federation and Iran must play a role in ending the conflict.

Russian Federation has defended Bashar Assad's government which has been accused of launching a chemical weapons attack on the Idlib province.

"Additionally, our information indicates personnel historically associated with Syria's chemical weapons programme were at Shayrat airfield in late March making preparations for an upcoming attack in northern Syria, and they were present at the airfield on the day of the attack", the report said.

"And those countries must also be part of the solution, as we hold the Assad regime to account and as we move tangibly forward as an global community to ending this conflict in Syria".

But he also laid down an ultimatum for Russian Federation, saying that Moscow must think about whether to remain an ally with the Assad regime, the Iranians and Hezbollah.

Foreign ministers of the G7 group of nations, which include the US, Japan, Britain and Germany, will be looking for clarity on Syria from Tillerson when they met Lucca, Italy.

Putin said that forces were planning to plant "certain substances" in parts of the country, without giving further details.

The Trump administration has hardened its position on Assad's future n the past few days, . This team has already found Syrian government forces were responsible for three chlorine gas attacks in 2014 and 2015 and Islamic State militants used mustard gas.

"We do think that it is a question worth asking the Russians", another official said.

Trump, in an interview with Fox News on Tuesday, said that despite the action he took on the use of chemical weapons, the United States would not be "going into Syria".

Officials are hoping that this can be leveraged to bring a new diplomatic push to end the 6-year-old civil war in Syria. Pressing Moscow to help coax Syria into getting rid of its remaining chemical weapons supply is a top priority for the talks. Trump's cruise missile order restored the believability of Washington using its military might in Syria.

Instead, the plan was shelved until after the results of an investigation into the attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun last week, which prompted the United States to launch a barrage of missiles on a Syrian airbase on Friday.

"We cannot give up and we must try in good faith, the best we can, to have a text of the Security Council condemning the attack, asking for a thorough investigation", French U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre told reporters.

Tillerson earlier on "This Week" told Stephanopoulos that the US hopes for a political process in Syria that could bring stability and allow the country's citizens to determine if they want to keep Assad as president. Western experts say sarin, a nerve agent, was used in the attack last week that killed more than 80 people.

  • Salvatore Jensen