Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who hosted his Iranian and Syrian counterparts at Friday’s trilateral meeting in Moscow, denounced last week’s USA attack on Syria and warned that any further such action would entail “grave consequences not only for regional but global security”.
“I really think there’s going to be a lot of pressure on Russian Federation to make sure that peace happens, because frankly, if Russian Federation didn’t go in and back this animal, we wouldn’t have a problem right now”, Mr Trump said, referring to Mr Putin’s support for President Bashar al-Assad of Syria.
Earlier, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that the US-UK-France-backed draft resolution on the chemical weapons in Syria is based on fake reports mosty from the White Helmets and the SOHR “which can not be called reliable”. Right now we’re not getting along with Russian Federation at all.
Earlier in an interview broadcast on Wednesday before the meeting with Tillerson, Putin said that mutual trust between Russian Federation and the USA, especially on the military level, had eroded in the first few months of Trump’s presidency.
It seems Putin agrees.
Tillerson noted the low level of trust between the two countries.
Finally, the New York Times reports that Trump’s rapidly changing positions on Syria, Russia, and a host of other global issues are giving leaders around the world “geopolitical whiplash”.
The vote on Wednesday afternoon on the resolution drafted by Britain, France and the United States was 10 in favor, Russian Federation and Bolivia against, and China, Kazakhstan and Ethiopia abstaining.
During his visit – the first to Moscow by a senior Trump administration official – Tillerson was expected to challenge Russian Federation to distance itself from Assad and his Iranian backers, an idea that the Kremlin dismissed as “absurd”.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, warned Moscow against protecting Assad, who relies on support from Russian Federation and Iran in his conflict with mostly Sunni Muslim rebels.
“We have not seen a single fact, or even a hint of facts”, he said.
The meetings come on the heels of a US missile strike on an air base in Syria in retaliation for a chemical weapon attack on civilians that’s been blamed on the Bashar al-Assad regime. But any such expectations have crashed into reality amid the nasty back-and-forth over Syria and ongoing USA investigations into Russia’s alleged interference in America’s US presidential election. Putin said that either gas belonging to the rebels was released when it was hit by a Syrian strike on a rebel arms dump, or the rebels faked the incident to discredit Assad.
“I like her, I respect her”, Trump said, according to a WSJ published Wednesday.
“Today’s vote could have been a turning point”, she said.
Tillerson reiterated Washington is “quite confident” that the recent chemical attack was planned and executed by Syrian government forces, which involved chlorine bombs and other chemical weapons on more than 50 occasions.
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley told the council: “We want to work with Russian Federation to advance a political process in Syria”.
He said: “So Russia faces a choice: it can continue acting as a lifeline for Assad’s murderous regime, or it could live up to its responsibilities as a global power, and use its influence over the regime to bring six long years of failed ceasefires and false dawns to an end”.
Trump made the comment during a joint press conference at the White House with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. But in a Fox Business Network interview, the US president said he wouldn’t intervene militarily against Assad unless the Syrian leader resorts to using weapons of mass destruction again.