U.S. Secretary of State Tillerson Takes U.S. Stance on Syria to Russia

On Tuesday, United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson took with him a message from the world powers to Moscow. The unified message denounced Russia’s support for Syria and took on the traditional role of the U.S. as the West’s leader on behalf of the Trump administration.

Tillerson left on Tuesday for Russia after being in Italy where he had met different foreign ministers in the Group of Seven. They were also joined by allies from the Middle East to form a united position related to Syria, which was placed atop the international agenda following a chemical attack last week that killed 87 people.

Countries in the West blame the gas attack on Syria President Bashar al-Assad and President Trump responded to the attack with his own attack using cruise missiles to hit an air base in Syria.

By doing that, his administration was put into an open dispute with Russia and its President Vladimir Putin who stood firmly by his ally Assad, who has denied any blame.

Tillerson told media in Italy prior to departing for Russia that it was clear that the Assad family reign in Syria was coming to its end.

Tillerson added that the G7 members hope that the government of Russia concludes they have aligned themselves with what we consider an unreliable partner in Syria in al-Assad.

He added that Russia failed in its role to sponsor a deal in 2013 in which Assad had promised to give up the arsenal he has of chemical weapons.

In a prepared statement released prior to the arrival of Tillerson, Russia announced it hopes that the meetings held with Tillerson would be productive but was concerned with regard to many parts of U.S. policy including Libya, Yemen, Syria and North Korea.

The role of Tillerson as a messenger for the G7 position was a turning point for President Trump, who has alarmed U.S. allies before by showing skepticism over the value of support by the U.S. for traditional friends while wanting closer ties with places such as Russia.

Tillerson is due to hold meetings with Sergei Lavrov the Foreign Minister of Russia on Wednesday. The Kremlin said Tillerson was not meeting with Putin during the trip, though some media in Russia have said that a meeting may take place nonetheless.

On Monday, President Trump talked on the phone about Syria with Theresa May the Prime Minister of Britain and Angela Merkel the Chancellor of Germany.

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