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Seeking to salvage ties, U.S. and Russian Federation agree on Syria probe

16 April 2017

"I think it's very bad for Russian Federation".

The Russians are backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against United States charges that his air force dropped a bomb loaded with the nerve agent sarin on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhun on April 4, killing 87 people, many of them children.

"ISIS represents a clear and present danger, an immediate threat to Europe and ultimately, a threat to the United States homeland", he said at his first briefing as defense secretary.

Lavrov signaling Russian Federation wants more information.

Mr Lavrov said after talks with the US Secretary of State that some progress had been made on Syria and that a working group will be set up to examine the poor state of U.S. -Russia ties.

However, he added, it is going to take a military effort to cut off the capacity for Assad or rebel forces to stop inflicting violence on the Syrian people. "I suggest you look at this vote very carefully, and heed this warning".

Tillerson said last week the Russians were "complicit or simply incompetent".

The presidents of the United States and Russian Federation on Wednesday both presented souring views of the relationship between their two countries, exchanging sharp words as Moscow extended an icy welcome to the United States' top diplomat in a face-off over Syria.

Canada's position has everything to do with staying on side with Trump and little to do with influencing anything internationally, because the only role Canada has to play is as part of a USA -led coalition, Juneau said.

He said there was a "low level of trust" and "the world's two foremost nuclear powers can not have this kind of relationship". In 2012, Obama said use of these chemicals by Assad or anyone else in the region would most certainly result in "enormous consequences".

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The talks were a test of US-Russia relations which have been marred with questions over Syria, and alleged meddling in the US elections.

He added: "Putin is the leader of Russian Federation".

Western powers blame the gas attack, which killed scores of civilians - many of them children - on Assad's forces.

"We have seen very alarming actions recently with an unlawful attack against Syria", Lavrov said, referring to the 59 Tomahawk missiles Trump launched at a Syrian air base to punish Assad for using chemical weapons.

A fact-finding mission from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is investigating the attack.

Mr Tillerson, who was personally awarded an Order of Friendship medal by Mr Putin in 2013 when he was chief executive of ExxonMobil, met Mr Putin for two hours during which time the situation in Syria and the April 4th attack were discussed.

Prior to Tillerson's arrival, hopes in Moscow had already dimmed that Trump would make good on his pledge to improve ties with Russian Federation, as relations with the Kremlin have become politically toxic on the back of claims that Putin conspired to get Trump elected.

The civil war is separate from the US -led effort against the Islamic State group in the north of the country.

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. "No", Trump said. But, he added, "I see them using gas. we have to do something".

"This is a moment of choice for (Russian) President (Vladimir) Putin, and we're certainly as an global community standing strongly to encourage him to make the right choice".