Jueves, 24 May, 2018

US, Russia agree to work on international investigation of Syrian chemical attack

Montez Delgado | 16 Abril, 2017, 10:38

The central issue of the talks will be discussing measures to prevent the undermining of political settlement efforts in Syria in the context of the USA strike, the Russian foreign ministry said.

The two leaders were expected to discuss disagreement about whether Syrian President Bashar Assad or his opposition was responsible for a chemical weapons attack last week that led to USA retaliatory cruise missiles.

Putin has angrily rejected the accusations against Damascus and slammed the United States bombing as "a violation of worldwide law".

Russia, along with Iran, is Assad's key supporter in the six-year Syrian civil war against rebels supported by the United States and Turkey. Until the chemical attack, the Trump administration had sought to step back from the U.S. position that Assad should leave power.

"We reminded them that US actions like the April 7 attacks on Syria contradict this task", Lavrov said, recalling that he and Tillerson discussed the need to intensify Russian-US efforts and mobilize the worldwide community to fight terrorism.

U.S. relations with Russian Federation "may be at an all-time low" said Donald Trump as he moved ever further away from his campaign promises to establish better ties with Moscow.

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Trump's comments came after he ordered 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles to be fired at Syria to punish Moscow's ally for its suspected use of poison gas.

Mr Tillerson, who has also had talks with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, admitted that US-Russian ties were at a "low point".

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, called on Moscow to stop protecting Assad and said the United States wants to work with Russian Federation toward a political solution for Syria.

As Lavrov and Tillerson sat down for their private meeting, Russian president Vladimir Putin appeared on Russian TV and issued his own dire assessment of U.S.

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.

As evidence, Lavrov critically recalled US interventions in Iraq, Libya and Yugoslavia that he said resulted in increased instability. Mr Putin had even honoured Mr Tillerson with a friendship award.

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"We don't want a new Cold War", he said standing next to Trump.

Earlier on Wednesday Tillerson had a similar tone after an nearly two-hour meeting with Putin, saying the two countries had reached a "low point" in relations.

The news comes after Tillerson faced an unusually chilly reception in Moscow.

Putin accused Assad's opponents of planning to stage chemical attacks to be blamed on Damascus in order to lure the United States deeper into the conflict.

A fact-finding mission from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is investigating last week's attack in a rebel-held area of northern Syria.

"Clearly, our view is that the reign of the Assad family is coming to an end", Tillerson said.

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Russian Federation on late Wednesday vetoed a United Nations (UN) resolution demanding the Syrian government cooperate with an investigation into the suspected chemical attack, saying that Moscow had consistently expressed its "categorical disagreement" with the draft resolution, which led to further criticism from the West, including the United States.

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