Tough talks today (April 12) for US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. He has arrived in Moscow briefed with the task of challenging Kremlin support for Syria’s leader.
Following the recent nerve gas attack on Syrian civilians, the US and other G7 nations have endorsed calls for Russia to abandon Bashir al-Assad.
Officially Tillerson is not due to meet President Vladimir Putin, only his foreign minister counterpart Sergei Lavrov – but for Donald Trump the main man is Putin.
“Frankly Putin is backing a person that’s truly an evil person and I think it’s very bad for Russia, I think it’s very bad for mankind, It’s very bad,” said President Donald Trump during an interview with Fox News.
But Putin has said there is no evidence that Assad forces carried out the recent nerve gas attack and instead the chemicals belonged to rebels. On Tuesday (April 11) he compared Washington’s accusations with those they made against Iraq’s Sadam Hussein.
“It reminds me of events in 2003 when representatives of the US showed in the Security Council the so-called chemical weapons, found in Iraq. After that the campaign in Iraq began and resulted in destruction of the country, and increase of terrorist threat,” said Putin.
US intelligence indicates the chemical agent in the attack on Khan Sheikhoun in which at least 87 people died, was delivered by Syrian aircraft. The US response was to launch a cruise missile attack at a Syrian airfield raising international tensions.
- North Korea
- Russian ‘interference’ in 2016 US election
- Co-operation in fight against self-styled IS
- Arms control treaty