Tillerson to press Russian Federation on Syrian chemical weapons

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson makes a statement about the visit of China's President Xi Jinping and about the situation in Syria at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach
Tillerson to press Russian Federation on Syrian chemical weapons
Author

10 April, 2017

More than 48 hours after President Trump ordered a missile assault on a Syrian government airbase as retaliation for a chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of civilians in the town of Idlib, the administration was still unable to articulate a clear explanation of how USA policy toward Syria and its leader, Bashar al-Assad, has changed, and why.

Speaking to "Face the Nation" host John Dickerson, Tillerson was asked directly if it is now a priority for America to get Syrian President Bashar al-Assad out of power in the wake of the chemical attack that his regime is being blamed for. Tillerson told Dickerson that the administration hopes to negotiate an end to the Syrian Civil War without having to resort to further military escalation.

Tillerson is expected in Moscow this week for talks with Russian officials.

A joint command center representing his Russian, Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah allies said the US attack would only cause them to redouble their support for the Syrian government. Tillerson said at the time that "steps are underway" to form an global coalition that would seek to remove al-Assad through some kind of negotiated settlement.

Reacting to the comment, an aide to Mr Johnson said: "It is a shame the Lib Dems would rather snipe and be silly when the USA and United Kingdom are trying to work on a plan to help the innocent people of Syria and stop a devastating civil war".

Kirsten Gillibrand - have argued against starting a war with Syria following Thursday's strike, but few have questioned Assad's responsibility for the chemical attack which spurred Trump to action. Meanwhile, Tillerson suggested that the airstrikes hadn't really changed priorities toward ousting Assad.

"We are prepared to do more", McMaster said on "Fox News Sunday".

More news: N. Korea fires ballistic missile ahead of Trump-Xi meeting

The Syrian opposition, which long accused the Obama administration of inaction, wants the US attack to be the start of a more aggressive policy toward Assad.

"I don't think this president should have taken this strike without congressional approval". "It also makes good sense before we commit our military and our men and women in uniform to any sort of conflict. Gabbard should not be in Congress", the former Vermont governor tweeted.

Fallon went on to say that Assad must search for stability to begin and stated: "Someone who uses barrel bombs and chemicals to kill his own people simply can not be the future leader of Syria".

"The president has some inherent (constitutional) power", Cardin said.

Gabbard, who sits on the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees, took a somewhat mysterious trip alone earlier this year to meet with Assad in Syria without alerting House Speaker Paul Ryan - a move that drew scorn from some of her House colleagues.

The cancellation "once again confirms doubts about the added value of dialogue with the British, who do not have their own position on the majority of current issues", the foreign ministry said in a statement on Sunday.


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