Wednesday, 28 June, 2017

Trump security adviser urges Russian Federation to rethink Syria support

Airborne operations near Hohenfels Germany during Saber Junction 16. DVIDSHUB  Public domain US envoy Nikki Haley says Syria regime change is 'inevitable'
Garry Little | 13 April, 2017, 00:58

The secretary of state's role as messenger for a united G7 position is a turning point for Trump, who in the past alarmed allies by voicing scepticism about the value of US support for traditional friends, while calling for closer ties with Moscow.

"The Prime Minister and the president agreed that a window of opportunity now exists in which to persuade Russian Federation that its alliance with Assad is no longer in its strategic interest".

Though such comments hint at a more activist US foreign policy focused on preventing humanitarian atrocities, Trump's administration has generally downplayed human rights concerns while promoting an "America First" strategy de-emphasizing the concerns of foreign nations.

He says of the recent chemical attack: "We can not let this happen again".

The allegation of Russian foreknowledge is grave, even by the standards of the now dismal U.S.

Calling the strike a "game changer", British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson at the G7 meeting in Italy on Monday said support for the Syrian president "was toxifying the reputation of Russia" and suggested sanctions could be imposed on Moscow if it refused to change course.

Reuters reports that Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, says that "right now there is no meeting with Tillerson in the president's diary".

Last week's nerve gas attack in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun that killed more than 80 people stirred President Donald Trump to strike for the first time at Assad's forces.

That support for ground troops is only slightly higher than it was in 2013, the last time the USA government threatened to retaliate for Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons.

"We are prepared to do more", he said.

The United States has made a preliminary conclusion that Russian Federation knew in advance of Syria's chemical weapons attack last week, but has no proof of Moscow's involvement, a senior USA official said Monday.

Their comments came as Tillerson planned to meet with Russian officials.

Haley said "getting Assad out is not the only priority" and that countering Iran's influence in Syria was another. But Tillerson also said that the top US priority in the region remains the defeat of Islamic State militants.

"I'm disappointed here, because I think the real failure here has been Russia's failure to live up to its commitments under the chemical weapons agreements that were entered into in 2013", he said on ABC's "This Week".

The way forward in Syria can't include Assad, whose recent chemical attack against his own people were abetted by those countries - Russian Federation and Iran - that have allowed him to remain in power, Trudeau told a news conference. Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said Sunday that Europe's broad support for the US military strikes had contributed to a "renewed harmony" between the United States and its partners.

Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) major industrialised nations are looking to put pressure on Russian Federation to break its ties with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The Trump administration's change of heart, apparently spurred in part by the president's emotional response to the images of chemical weapons victims, also is serving another goal: defanging the perception of coziness between Trump and Moscow. The animosity is especially striking given widespread speculation that Trump, who lavishly praised Putin during his campaign, would pursue rapprochement with Moscow.

U.S. officials said the strike against the Shayrat airbase hit aircraft, fuel storage, weapons dumps and other equipment, and was aimed at sending a message to the Syrian regime that the use of chemical weapons would not be tolerated.

"We rededicate ourselves to holding to account any and all who commit crimes against the innocents anywhere in the world,"Tillerson told reporters in Sant'Anna di Stazzema".

"We do not have any information that suggests that Russian Federation was part of the military attack undertaken using the chemical weapons", Tillerson said.

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