Meeting between top US and Russian diplomats tense
(April 12) The meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was far from friendly. Later, Tillerson also met with Russian president Putin.
|Lavrov warned Tillerson publicly against any further U.S. military strikes on the Syrian regime. No meeting with Russian president Putin was scheduled although after being kept waiting for two hours he finally did have a long meeting with Putin that lasted about two hours. Tillerson had a friendly relationship with Putin and Russia while he headed the oil giant Exxon but there was no friendliness on exhibit publicly at this meeting. Tillerson told reporters: “There is a low level of trust between our two countries. The world’s two foremost nuclear powers cannot have this kind of relationship.” Although Putin had a somewhat frosty relationship with Obama and Trump promised during his campaign that he would promote better relationships with Russia, Putin said: "One could say that the level of trust on a working level, especially on the military level, has not improved, but rather has deteriorated."|
Tillerson has in recent days blasted Russia for incompetence or complicity in the Syrian chemical attack, saying Moscow was not living up to the terms of a 2013 deal to help eliminate Assad’s stockpile of such weapons. But when pressed Wednesday, Tillerson said the U.S. had “no firm information to indicate that there was any involvement by Russia” in the specific attack on Idlib.