U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has left a G7 meeting in Lucca, Italy on Tuesday headed for Moscow to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday just five days after the U.S. decided to bomb Syria’s 2nd largest airbase belonging to the Assad regime.
Speaking on Tuesday from Lucca, Italy at the conclusion of a G7 meeting, U.S. Secretary of State Tillerson said that the U.S. missile strike late last week in response to Syrian President Assad’s repeated use of banned weapons was necessary as a matter of U.S. national security interest as they don’t want the regime stockpile of chemical weapons to fall into the wrong hands of ISIS or terrorist groups who would want to harm the U.S. or their allies.
Tillerson said the U.S. is grateful for other statements that came forward from their allies and partners, expressing support for their timely and proportional response against the Assad regime.
Critical Words Towards Russia
Tillerson made it clear that Russia has failed to uphold the previous UN Security Council resolution agreements, stipulating Russia as the guarantor of a Syria free of chemical weapons and that they would locate, secure, and destroy all such armaments in Syria.
“Stockpiles and continued use demonstrate that Russia has failed in its responsibility to deliver on this 2013 commitment. It is unclear whether Russia failed to take this obligation seriously or Russia has been incompetent, but this distinction doesn’t much matter to the dead. We can’t let this happen again” Tillerson said.
Describing the U.S. bombing raid as a direct response to the Assad regime’s “barbarism,” Tillerson explained that the U.S. priority in Syria and Iraq remains the defeat of ISIS in the region and said that it is clear that the reign of the Assad family is coming to an end but the question of how that ends and the transition itself could be very important.
Tillerson voiced his support for a political process that ultimately leads to the final conclusion of how Syria will be governed in a unified way by the people of Syria.
Asked how to deal with an elusive Russia that has been reluctant to distance themselves from the Assad regime, despite past efforts under the Obama administration, Tillerson said they hope the Kremlin concludes they have aligned themselves with an unreliable partner in Bashar al-Assad.
“They had signed the chemical weapons accord themselves – the Syrian Government; the Russian Government had signed that accord; and now Assad has made the Russians look not so good under these circumstances” Tillerson said.
Tillerson explained that he hopes Russia will realign with the United States, Western countries, and Middle East countries who are all seeking to resolve the Syrian crisis rather than align with the Assad regime, the Iranians, and Hezbollah, a Shia Islamist militant group that has played a role on the ground supporting the Syrian government.
— G7 Italy 2017 (@g7) April 11, 2017
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