Trump says US-Russia relations may be at 'all-time low'

Posted April 17, 2017

Donald Trump has declared that USA relations with Russian Federation "may be at an all-time low" laying bare deep and risky divisions on Syria and other issues, while his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson offered a similarly grim assessment after meeting with Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

Last week Trump ordered airstrikes on a Syrian air base in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack which killed 80 people and was described by the USA as a nerve gas attack carried out by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces. The jet dropped sarin on the western Syrian village of Khan Sheikhoun, killing at least 70 civilians.

In the days since the attacks, U.S.

Mr Peskov said in a conference call with reporters that President Putin's meeting with Mr Tillerson reflected the "understanding of the need to maintain a dialogue to search for solutions".

The US is "not getting along with Russian Federation at all" and the relations between the two countries "may be at an all-time low", US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday. Russian Federation says rebels were responsible for whatever chemical agent was used, which the Trump administration calls a disinformation campaign.

He named two conditions. Mr. Tillerson's suggestion that the Assad family dynasty was coming to an end in Syria was met with Mr. Lavrov's contention that hastily removing the Syrian leader would clear the way for the Islamic State group or al-Qaeda to seize control. The second condition was the United States conduct no additional strikes on government targets.

Echoing the Russian stance on cooperation, Tillerson said that Russia and the US will continue discussions about how to find a solution to the Syrian conflict.

It was the eighth veto by Russian Federation, a close ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, on a Western-backed Syria resolution and reflected the deep division that has left the U.N.'s most powerful body struggling to tackle the use of banned chemical weapons and to help end the six-year Syrian conflict.

"If they [Syria] use chemical weapons, they are going to pay a very, very stiff price", he said.

And the US warned Russian Federation that it is only isolating itself with its continued support of Assad.

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And Assad said he could "only allow any investigation when it's impartial, when we make sure that unbiased countries will participate in this delegation in order to make sure that they won't use it for politicised purposes".

"We note that the official USA narrative was put forth very quickly, in the absence of an impartial and independent investigation, and in the absence of credible evidence", Murray said.

Air Force Col. John Dorrian, the Baghdad-based spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, said Wednesday that the Pentagon would no longer discuss the deconfliction line because it has become political.

The Syrian leader told AFP that while Al-Qaida had been behind the assault, the US blamed the incident on the Syrian military "to have a pretext for the attack", referring to Washington's cruise missile strike on a Syrian regime air base.

Several senior administration figures have been dogged with accusations of cooperation with Russian Federation when they meddled in the 2016 presidential election, which has led to an FBI investigation and the resignation of national security adviser Michael Flynn.

On Thursday, Moscow hosted Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem for talks with Lavrov, ahead of a three-way meeting Friday with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif of Iran, another Assad ally.

The polarised positions were evident at the UN Security Council Wednesday, when Russian Federation vetoed a Western-drafted resolution that would have required Syrian cooperation in an investigation into the suspected chemical attack.

In a statement aired by Syrian state TV, the army said that the incident proved ISIS and Al-Qaida-linked militants "posses chemical weapons".

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

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