Boris Johnson 'dismayed' at Russia's veto of United Nations resolution on Syria

Posted April 14, 2017

Lavrov, speaking in his opening remarks in the meeting with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson being held Thursday in Moscow, additionally said that recent foreign policy statements by the United States have been "confusing and sometimes openly contradictory".

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov blasted United States claims that it has "irrefutable evidence" of election interference.

Putin's decision to host Tillerson signaled Moscow's intent to maintain communication with the USA even as they bash each other publicly in louder and louder tones.

Tillerson started a meeting with Putin in the Kremlin after talking to his Russian opposite number Sergei Lavrov for around three hours.

Last week, the US responded to a chemical attack on civilians by Assad forces by launching missiles against a regime air base thought to have been used in the attack, which killed at least 100 civilians.

The Wall Street Journal cited Trump as saying that Assad's use of chemical weapons again would elicit another military response, but he also said he would not intervene in depth in the conflict.

"We discussed Assad today", said Lavrov. Russian Federation is a major ally of Assad with troops stationed in the country and the US has suggested Russian Federation may have known about the chemical attack in advance.

Putin's decision to host Tillerson signaled Moscow's intent to maintain communication with the USA even as they bash each other publicly in louder and louder tones.

Lavrov said Russian Federation understands Tillerson and President Donald Trump "inherited" a lot of issues from President Obama.

He doubled down on Russia's support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, repeating denials that Assad's government was to blame for the gas attack last week and adding a new theory that it may have been faked by Assad's enemies.

Tillerson was not initially expected to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his Moscow trip, but Putin chose to meet with Tillerson on Wednesday morning.

He said: "This afternoon in NY, the global community sought to make clear that any use of chemical weapons by anyone anywhere is unacceptable and that those responsible will face consequences".

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"We stand ready to work together and I will be talking to my G7 partners in the coming days about how we can continue to strive for a political solution that brings an end to the suffering of the Syrian people".

Russian Federation says rebels were responsible for whatever chemical agent was found, which the Trump administration calls a disinformation campaign.

In another possible setback to a thaw with Moscow, Trump said on Wednesday that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is not obsolete, as he had declared during the election campaign a year ago.

Trump said Tillerson had completed a successful meeting with Putin, where "things went pretty well". "We consider it of utmost importance to prevent the risks of replay of similar action in the future".

"It's not easy to get clarifications on the current as well as prospective issues because of that", Lavrov said.

"Analysis of the samples was carried out by chemical weapons scientists at Porton Down, in Wiltshire, and tested positive for sarin" or a sarin-like substance", he said.

"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. The U.S. also accused Russian Federation of mounting a disinformation campaign aimed at exonerating Assad. Trump says it's also "very bad for mankind".

Lavrov said that while Russian Federation was not placing its hopes in Assad or any other individual in Syria, toppling the Syrian government was not an option and that a political process had to be allowed to play out.

Of Assad, Trump added: "This is an animal". Putin quickly invited the Syrian and Iranian foreign ministers to Moscow on Friday, the day after Tillerson departs.

Tillerson says the United State is confident in its assessment that Syria used chemical weapons in a bombing last week and alleged that Syria has used such weapons more than 50 times in the past.

Russia's deputy United Nations ambassador says the US "provocation" by attacking a Syrian air base will only encourage those who want a military solution to the six-year Syrian conflict. "I guess they were too busy trying to undermine Russia-U.S. ties before the new administration comes in".

Lavrov says Russian Federation has lots of questions about the "very ambiguous" and "contradictory" ideas coming from the U.S. He says through a translator that it's important for Russian Federation to understand the "real intentions" of the Trump administration.