Russian Federation won't condemn Syria chemical attack

"There is a low level of trust between our countries", Tillerson said in a news conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. He said the two sides also would discuss disagreements on Syria and how to end the country's six-year civil war. -Russian ties from both Trump and Tillerson reflected the former Cold War foes' inability to forge better relations, as Trump until recently has advocated. Tillerson said Syria's government had committed more than 50 attacks using chlorine or other chemical weapons over the duration of the conflict.

The rift between the United States and Russian Federation was laid bare Wednesday when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held his first direct talks with Russia's president. "They were there. So we'll find out", Donald Trump said.

As much as Turkey, Israel and Saudi Arabia want the USA to push their agenda in Syria, Trump risks losing his credibility when Tillerson returns red-faced from Moscow.

Mr Johnson said: "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".

Moscow has strenuously objected to Trump's decision to launch 59 U.S. Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian air base that the U.S. says was used to pummel civilians with nerve gas, resulting in 87 deaths. Tillerson conceded the two world powers had "sharp differences" that have obstructed cooperation but voiced optimism that their talks could narrow those differences. Instead, Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who had met earlier on Wednesday, joined Putin for more than two hours.

Putin has now found himself in a trap: Abandoning Assad would amount to recognition that the Kremlin's policy was wrong, while maintaining support for the Syrian ruler could risk destroying any chance for a detente with the US and raise the threat of a military confrontation. "So, I felt we had to do something about it. We're going to see how that all works out".

France's U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre said "with this attack, the Syrian regime has plumbed new depths of horror". However, he added that he believed Moscow and Washington have "great potential" to improve their relationship.

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And Putin, who US intelligence agencies say tried to help Trump get elected, insisted that relations with the USA had only gone downhill since Trump took office in January. The FBI is probing whether Trump's staff engaged in criminal collusion with Russian officials to boost Trump's election chances.

The U.S. also accused Russian Federation of mounting a disinformation campaign aimed at exonerating Assad.

Russian Federation and the US on Wednesday agreed to keep on fighting worldwide terrorism and continue discussions on Syrian conflict settlement, despite turbulent bilateral relations and a string of pending disputes between the two countries. He was referring to widespread vacancies throughout the top State Department leadership that has fueled a perception in the US that Tillerson and his agency are being sidelined by Trump.

"The Kremlin argues Assad gave up his chemical weapons stores under a 2013 agreement Moscow brokered with the Obama administration; Tillerson has accused Russian Federation of "incompetence" in failing to enforce that deal", Charles Maynes reports for NPR from Moscow. "That is an obvious fact".

Only weeks ago, it appeared that Trump, who praised Putin throughout the USA election campaign, was poised for a potentially historic rapprochement with Russian Federation.

"Frankly, Putin is backing a person that's truly an evil person", Trump aid in the Fox Business Network interview, referring to Assad.

"What I did should have been done by the Obama administration a long time before I did it, and you would have had a much better - I think Syria would be a lot better off right now than it has been", he said.

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