Published: Sun, April 16, 2017
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Russian Federation must stop propping up 'murderous' Syrian regime, Boris Johnson says

"Friends and associates said few USA citizens are closer to Mr. Putin than Mr. Tillerson, who has known Mr. Putin since he represented Exxon's interests in Russian Federation during the regime of Boris Yeltsin", the Wall Street Journal reported in December.

Tillerson and Lavrov also "briefly" discussed Russian attempts to meddle in the USA presidential election.

Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that trust had eroded between the United States and Russian Federation under President Donald Trump, as Moscow delivered an unusually hostile reception to Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson in a face-off over Syria. Tillerson is a former oil executive who was awarded Russia's Order of Friendship by Putin.

Laying bare deep and unsafe divisions on Syria and other issues, President Donald Trump declared Wednesday that USA relations with Russian Federation "may be at an all-time low".

Mattis said about 20 aircraft - probably equating to about 20 percent of the Syrian regime's air force - were taken out by the cruise missile strike.

Moscow has stood by Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad, saying the poison gas belonged to rebels, an explanation Washington dismisses as beyond credible.

Mr Safronkov also claimed America's cruise missile strikes on a Syrian airbase "was carried out in violation of global norms".

The remark was aimed at abating public concerns that the recent US strike against the Syrian regime, in response to an April 4 chemical weapons attack, would lead to a full-fledged war with Syria and its ally, Russia. But Tillerson repeated the administration's new belief that "the reign of the Assad family is coming to an end". -Russian ties and identify problems.

While there was a "low level of trust" between the countries, Mr Tillerson pledged to increase communication between Washington and Moscow.

But such hopes appeared optimistic as the diplomats outlined their sharply diverging views on Syria. In 2012, Obama said use of these chemicals by Assad or anyone else in the region would most certainly result in "enormous consequences". And he suggested that possible war crimes charges could be levied against the Syrian leader.

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While the most immediate U.S.

Secretary of state Rex Tillerson held a tense, four hour meeting with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov.

"We believe it is fundamentally important not to let these actions happen again".

"I expressed the view that the current state of U.S. -Russia relations is at a low point", Tillerson said.

Since Trump took office in January, he has been confronted by European allies who have fear his administration will go easy on Russian Federation.

Tillerson reiterated the U.S. position that Assad must eventually relinquish power in Syria.

Trump also warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that in backing Assad, Putin was supporting someone who is "truly an evil person".

Mr Trump also backtracked on his criticism of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation at a joint press conference with its secretary general Jens Stoltenberg, saying: "I said it was obsolete; it's no longer obsolete".

Beyond Syria, Russia's alleged meddling in the US presidential election also hovered over what was the first face-to-face encounter between Putin and any Trump administration Cabinet member.

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