Published: Wed, April 12, 2017
Electronics | By Lorenzo Hawkins

US, Russia jab over Syria before diplomatic talks in Moscow

US, Russia jab over Syria before diplomatic talks in Moscow

Haley's comments came after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told lawmakers he would look into stepping up sanctions on both countries, whose leadership supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who U.S. officials say is responsible for a chemical weapons attack against civilians last week.

Russian forces were aware of Bashar al-Assad's plan to use chemical weapons to attack his own people and may have attempted to cover up the incident afterwards, according to a report from the Associated Press citing an unnamed USA official. In an interview, interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose said she wants details about what the government intends - either diplomatic or otherwise.

A Downing Street spokesman said Mr Trump thanked the Prime Minister for her support in the wake of last week's United States missile attack on the air base from which the chemical attack is believed to have been launched.

Leading up to the USA missile attack, Trump's administration had said Assad's future was up to the Syrian people.

"The Syrian people and army are determined to crush terrorism in every part of Syrian territory".

A key focus since the chemical attack has been on increasing pressure on Russia, Assad's strongest ally, which has used its own military to keep Assad in power.

Tillerson said Tuesday that Russian Federation must choose between aligning itself with the USA or with Assad and Iran. That came a day after a pro-Assad military coalition said it might fire back if the US strikes again.

USA presidents have a tradition of entering office and expressing hope for improved relations with Russian Federation. "It is unclear whether Russian Federation failed to take this obligation serious or Russian Federation has been incompetent", Tillerson said.

Russian Federation says the chemicals that killed civilians last week belonged to rebels, not to Assad's government, and has accused the United States of an illegal act of aggression against Syria on a false pretext.

Britain had hoped the threat of sanctions would strengthen Tillerson's hand in talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Tillerson is in Moscow to meet with Russian officials about the civil war in Syria.

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Putin believes that the European countries, who have been anti-Trump, may back U.S.' decision to launch missile strike in Syria, to restore relations with the U.S.

Washington stated it fired a barrage of 59 cruise missiles at the Shayrat base in response to what President Trump called a "barbaric" chemical attack on a rebel-held town on Tuesday that he blamed on the Damascus regime. "They're just so thankful that the United States led on this issue".

The Trump administration, however, has offered mixed messages about whether Assad must surrender power - and when.

U.S. Senator John McCain says stopping Syrian President Bashar Assad's "murderous rampage" does not preclude America from fighting the Islamic State group.

That accusation will hang over Tillerson's visit to Moscow, where he plans with meet with Russia's foreign minister and possibly with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He even likened it to the false evidence presented by the USA that led to the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

"They basically thought this would be the start of a great relationship, and that this would be the first step in organizing a summit between Trump and Putin", Kim says.

The ministry gave this assessment in a statement released hours before US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was scheduled to visit Moscow on Tuesday for talks on the ongoing Syrian conflict.

"The reign of the Assad family is coming to an end", he confidently predicted.

The United States has sought to minimize expectations for the trip or the likelihood that the USA will leave with any Russian concessions on Syria.

But at the same briefing Spicer drew criticism after he sought to underscore the ghastliness of the gas attack by saying, "You had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn't even sink to using chemical weapons".

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