What is the Trump administration's Syria policy?
- Author: Leroy Wright Apr 16, 2017,
Apr 16, 2017, 1:20
The Kremlin says it is "too early yet" to know whether U.S. and Russian relations will improve after hours of contentious talks Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held Wednesday with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem said the meeting sent a "strong message" to Washington.
Lavrov said the USA strike on the Syrian base has undermined peace efforts in Syria and reflected Washington's focus on ousting Syrian President Bashar Assad's government.
Will Trump's often-stated desire to reset relations with Russian Federation come true or will the ties between the two countries stay at the "low" mentioned by Tillerson?
The U.S. has blamed the Syrian government for launching a deadly chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun that killed over 80 people on April 4, and responded by striking a Syrian air base.
The United States is "not getting along with Russian Federation at all", Trump said at a press conference at the White House.
President Donald Trump said it would be "wonderful" if NATO and the United States could get along with Russian Federation during a news conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
At that briefing, the official also noted, "We know the Russians have chemical expertise in-country". Russia wants the U.S. to eliminate sanctions on Moscow related to its 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region and support for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. Iran's Mohammad Javad Zarif emphasized that the participants agreed that unilateral actions by the US were unacceptable.
"Our meetings today come at an important moment in the relationship", Tillerson said as he and Lavrov faced each other at a long conference table, "so that we can further clarify areas of common objectives, areas of common interests, even when our tactical approaches might be different, and to clarify areas of sharp difference, so that we can better understand why these differences exist, and what the prospects for narrowing those differences may be".
Russia, Syria and Iran strongly warned the United States Friday against launching new strikes on Syria and called for an global probe into last week's chemical attack there.
Until the chemical attack, the Trump administration had sought to step back from the USA position that Assad should leave power. Trump said it was "certainly possible" though "probably unlikely". So that we can then address the more serious problems. "We will keep this issue in focus, because the struggle with terrorism should be the sole goal for using military force in Syrian territory", Lavrov said. "Are we going to get involved with Syria?"
"We noticed that when the Trump administration came to power, the USA role in the Astana and the Geneva process has been reduced to the very minimum", FM Walid al-Moallem said.