Tillerson receives chilly reception in Russian Federation, meets with Putin
- Author: Leroy Wright Apr 14, 2017,
Apr 14, 2017, 11:56
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in a news conference with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that the two countries had agreed to work together on an global investigation into the attack that prompted retaliatory American missile strikes.
The U.S. and its allies have held the Syrian government responsible for the chemical attack in northern Syria that killed more than 80.
But the civil war in Syria has driven a wedge between Moscow and Washington, upending what many in Russian Federation hoped would be a transformation in relations, which reached a post-Cold War low under Trump's predecessor Barack Obama.
During the heated Security Council meeting, Russia's deputy United Nations envoy Vladimir Safronkov told the 15-member body that Western countries were wrong to blame Assad for the attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says he aims to clear up "sharp differences" with Russia as he opens a tense meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Tillerson said they discussed that there was no change in USA sanctions on Russian Federation over its destabilizing actions in Ukraine and said, indeed, there was the possibility of more United States sanctions on Russian Federation over its alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Only weeks ago, it appeared that Trump, who praised Putin throughout the US election campaign, was poised for a potentially historic rapprochement with Russian Federation. As the Federal Bureau of Investigation and multiple congressional committees investigate potential collusion between Russia and Trump's campaign in last year's US election, Trump can point to his hard-line stance as fresh evidence that he's far from beholden to the Russian leader.
But Lavrov said some progress has been made and that a working group would examine the state of US-Russia ties.
After the talks, Lavrov said Moscow would veto the draft resolution by the United States, Britain, and France requiring the Syrian government to cooperate with an investigation into the incident, saying it would be "counterproductive to have a UN resolution that would legitimize the accusations against Damascus". -Russian air safety agreement over Syria which Moscow suspended after the USA missile strikes.
While the most immediate U.S.
Lavrov, who met with Tillerson earlier in the day, gave him a chilly reception as they headed into their first meeting, telling him that Russian Federation had lots of questions about what he said were "very ambiguous" and "contradictory" statements coming from the United States.
Putin received Tillerson at the Kremlin along with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov after the top diplomats held several hours of talks dominated by the fallout of an alleged chemical attack in Syria.
But Moscow appeared unready to budge on the primary goal of Tillerson's mission - persuading Russian Federation to help remove Assad from power. "I look forward to a very open, candid, frank exchange so that we can better define the U.S. -Russia relationship from this point forward".
"Frankly, Putin is backing a person that's truly an evil person", Trump aid in the Fox Business Network interview, referring to Assad.
On Wednesday, US envoy Nikki Haley told the Security Council that Washington wants a diplomatic solution to end the war in Syria. Mr Trump said it was "certainly possible" though "probably unlikely".
Russian Federation also accused the United States of firing 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the base to divert attention from Iraq, where a March airstrike by the USA -led worldwide coalition killed about 150 civilians in Mosul. Trump says it's also "very bad for mankind".
And Putin, who US intelligence agencies say tried to help Trump get elected, insisted that relations with the USA had only gone downhill since Trump took office in January.
"It can be said that the level of trust at the working level, especially at the military level, has not become better, but most likely has degraded", Putin said.
The meeting comes as early expectations of an easy rapport between the Trump administration and Russian Federation are crashing into reality.
But the underlying tensions between the former Cold War foes never went away and last week's chemical attack has left ties once again in crisis.