Russia, Iran warn US against new Syria attacks
- Author: Leroy Wright Apr 17, 2017,
Apr 17, 2017, 17:40
Tillerson, who arrived on Tuesday on his first visit to Russia since he was named to lead the U.S. State Department, is meeting for talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
In Washington, President Donald Trump said the US's relationship with Moscow "may be at an all-time low".
But he said Moscow and Washington had agreed to continue co-operating to try to find a political solution for Syria.
After the US launched a Tomahawk missile barrage on a Syrian air base last week, Russian Federation announced that it was suspending observance of the memorandum that established the hotline.
Russian Federation has once again denounced what it called "an act of aggression", after the U.S. missile strike on a Syrian airbase in retaliation to a reported use of chemical weapons in Khan Sheikhoun.
The U.S. has blamed the Syrian government for launching the attack that killed more than 80, while Russian Federation has claimed that toxic agents were released from a rebel chemical arsenal hit by Syrian warplanes.
Mr Lavrov admitted relations between the two nations "are not the most calm" and some issues were "time bombs" inherited from the Obama administration.
"The world's two foremost nuclear powers can not have this kind of relationship", he said at a press conference afterwards.
"There is a low level of trust between our two countries", Mr Tillerson told reporters in Moscow.
Trump made the remark at a joint press conference with visiting NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the White House.
Some of Washington's allies had been wary of Trump, who spoke during his election campaign of seeking closer ties with Moscow and questioned the value of USA support for its traditional friends.
"And that could happen, and it may not happen, and it may be just the opposite".
"We have not seen a single fact, or even a hint of facts", he said.
Moscow has stood by Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad, saying the poison gas belonged to rebels, an explanation Washington dismisses as beyond credible. "We have said that there need to be a very thorough investigation into this incident, which has become the subject of many speculations", Lavrov said.
But RC Hammond, a senior Tillerson aide, said flatly: "No agreements were reached". "I think he had a very successful meeting in Russia", Trump said.
He likened the USA response in bombing a Syrian air base to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, arguing that now just as then Washington relied on false data about chemical weapons.
It appears that Russian Federation felt stung by the United States attack on Syria and no amount of U.S. convincing can convince Moscow that Damascus planned and executed the chemical attack. Tillerson is a former oil executive who was awarded Russia's Order of Friendship by Putin. Giving Tillerson a chilly reception, Lavrov said Russian Federation was trying to understand the "real intentions" of the Trump administration.