Published: Thu, April 13, 2017
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

U.S. doesn't intend to get drawn into Syrian war, defense chief says

U.S. doesn't intend to get drawn into Syrian war, defense chief says

As he embarked on a trip to Moscow following urgent meetings in Italy with top diplomats, Tillerson said it was unclear whether Russian Federation had failed to take seriously its obligation to rid Syria of chemical weapons, or had merely been incompetent. "Is that a long-term alliance that serves Russia's interest?"

Tillerson flew straight from the summit in Italy to Moscow, carrying the G-7's strong desire for a new start in Syria, but few concrete proposals to make it happen.

Russia, Assad's staunchest ally, has insisted the Syrian leader is blameless and that rebels disbursed chemical weapons. But in last week's crucial tests, Donald Trump made good decisions about Syria, Russia and China - moving his erratic administration a big closer toward the pillars of traditional US policy. They have aligned themselves with North Korea, Syria, Iran.

Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano, who hosted the G-7 gathering, said "there is no consensus for further new sanctions".

The Russian Defense Ministry said Wednesday that those strikes were not as effective as the United States claims.

Thus, the attack has brought Russian Federation and the USA at loggerheads.

The text expresses the council's full backing for investigators from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the joint UN-OPCW investigative panel tasked with determining who is responsible for such attacks.

Drawing a red line against the use of imprecise barrel bombs - a common tactic used by Assad in Syria's civil war that has now entered its seventh year - would fundamentally change the dimensions of the conflict and likely demand a more active U.S. role.

Others argued for a more conciliatory approach. It would be the eighth time that Moscow has resorted to its veto power at the Security Council to block action against its ally Syria.

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".

"When he says the kind of stupid things that he did today, it hurts the administration, it changes the story", Panetta said.

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The Group of Seven is an informal bloc of industrialized nations comprised of the United States, Canada, Germany, France, Britain, Italy, and Japan.

The US officials raised the stakes before Mr Tillerson's visit to Moscow with the disclosure that the administration had reached the preliminary conclusion that Russian Federation knew in advance of the chemical weapons attack on Khan Sheikhoun, which left at least 80 dead.

Nikki Haley, the USA envoy to the United Nations, is characterizing Russian Federation as skittish and isolated in the wake of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad's deadly chemical weapon attack last week that killed scores of civilians, including children.

Even since the missile strikes, signals have been mixed.

"It is the right moment to talk about this, how the worldwide community, with Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Europe, with the US, can drive forward a peace process for Syria and avoid further military escalation of the conflict". But Tillerson also said that the top USA priority in the region remains the defeat of Islamic State militants.

"Russia's initiative in 2013 to dismantle Syria's chemical weapons has been exposed as a shambles".

Though such comments hint at a more activist USA foreign policy focused on preventing humanitarian atrocities, Trump has consistently suggested he prefers the opposite approach.

Previously willing to accept Assad's continued grip on power, some Trump administration officials now say the president prefers he step down.

Mr. Spicer, however, added that the US would be "open to strategic cooperation with Russia" if it can achieve the shared goal of defeating the Islamic State.

The G-7 members broadly agree that Assad should go - but not necessarily when, or how. Now we call it evolving, and we have moved beyond the nonsense posture that it's better to be steadfast in error than flexible enough to correct course, especially as new facts come to light.

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