Trump Says It's Unlikely Russia Was Unaware of Syria Gas Attack
- Author: Leroy Wright Apr 17, 2017,
Apr 17, 2017, 22:07
"Relations are at a low point; there is a low level of trust between the two countries", Tillerson said at a news conference with his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, CNN reports.
He also reiterated America's claim that Syrian government forces "planned, directed and executed" a chemical attack on civilians, which killed more than 80 people.
U.S. Central Command said Thursday that coalition aircraft were given the wrong coordinates by their partner forces, the predominantly-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces, for a strike meant to target Islamic State militants south of their Tabqa stronghold. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has warned that Russian Federation could become an "island" if it doesn't find a way to save face and side with the U.S. and its allies in opposition to Assad.
The president was also asked about U.S. -Russia ties amid Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's visit to Moscow.
After days of speculation over whether Putin and Tillerson would meet, the two ultimately did meet Wednesday, according to a Kremlin spokesperson. The US blamed the Assad regime for the attack and accused Russian Federation of trying to cover it up.
Putin admitted that relations have worsened in the three months that Trump has been in office.
"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 in an interview broadcast Wednesday by state television channel Mir.
Could Syria have launched the chemical weapons attack with Russia's advance knowledge?
Trumps comments come less than a week after he ordered missile strikes on a Syrian airfield after us evidence indicated that Assad killed civilians using the nerve agent sarin.
Putin's icy rhetoric was echoed by Lavrov in remarks made as he met with Tillerson to discuss Syria.
He said U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is considering the request.
Russia's alleged meddling in the United States presidential election also hovered over what was the first face-to-face encounter between Putin and any Trump administration Cabinet member. Lavrov observed that any resolution condemning Damascus without the results of an investigation would be "counterproductive".
Looking at the resolution's supporters sitting around the horseshoe-shaped table in the Security Council, Safronkov said: "You are afraid of an impartial investigation".
Tillerson says he wants to understand why U.S. -Russia differences exist.
He said general agreement was reached at the meeting of the need to keep open lines of communication between Moscow and Washington.
Lavrov is also subtly mocking Tillerson for the fact that top U.S. State Department positions are unfilled. He says that makes it hard to have clarity about USA positions. Tillerson spoke after meeting with Vladimir Putin, a meeting that occurred only after much uncertainty as to whether the Russian president would receive the secretary of state.
Tillerson said that Russian Federation could help Assad "recognize this reality".
Trump said it was "certainly possible" that Putin knew about the attack, blamed on Assad, indicating Russian officials were present at the source airbase, which Trump later bombed. That disagreement was on display Wednesday, as Tillerson stood by USA claims that the evidence points to Assad - while clarifying the US has no indications of Russian involvement. It's unclear whether Putin will grant Tillerson a meeting.