US, Russia still far apart as Syria haunts talks


The barbed language hung over Rex Tillerson, the US Secretary of State's meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, and then later with Mr Putin himself.

The deaths have been widely blamed on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, but Russian Federation has denied the regime carried out the attack.

It came days after Chinese leader Xi Jinping held his first meeting with President Donald Trump at a summit in Florida last week.

Russian Federation has slammed Washington's attack on a Syrian airbase and, as the top diplomats met, Putin admitted that relations between Washington and Moscow have worsened in the three months that Trump has been in office.

The world's two leading superpowers "cannot" have such a poor relationship, he insisted.

There is a limit, I think, to what we can do.

Lavrov said that Russian Federation is open to resuming a military deconfliction channel with the United States related to Syrian airspace.

But both Tillerson and Lavrov said the countries had found some common ground, including a desire for a unified and stable Syria and the de-nuclearization of North Korea.

Damascus and Moscow claim the toxic gas that killed dozens of civilians in a rebel-held Syrian town on April 4 was released when government bombs struck a rebel-controlled chemical-weapons depot - an assertion that Western governments reject.

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"We have numerous problems, including those, which were left as action-delayed mines from the [Obama] administration", Lavrov continued.

Putin, whom USA intelligence agencies say tried to help Trump get elected, insisted that relations with the US had only gone downhill since Trump took office in January. "No", Trump said. But, he added, "I see them using gas ... we have to do something". But Tillerson repeated the administration's new belief that "the reign of the Assad family is coming to an end". And they, again, have brought this on themselves. She continued, "It is long past time for Russian Federation to stop covering for Assad".

Russian Federation claims the Syrian regime is being unfairly blamed for the chemical attack, and on Wednesday Putin said that the attack was "simply staging" and a provocation, in his interview with MIR.

Lavrov said both countries should work together and noted that Moscow does "not consider any closed alliances and misalliances productive". "I hope that these contacts will continue", the foreign minister said.

The "irritancy" between Russian Federation and the USA escalated during the Obama administration "especially", the foreign minister noted.

U.S. troops are still stationed in Eastern Europe and the Baltic states.

Moscow and Washington have traded barbs over last week's chemical attack, which killed 89 people, and prompted the USA to carry out its first strike against the Syrian regime in the six-year conflict, taking out aircraft and infrastructure at a Syrian military air base.

Bolivia voted against the measure and 10 other council members supported it.

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Haley didn't spare the United Nations itself.

The US could launch new strikes against Syria, Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has warned as he says Moscow still has time to be on the "right side of the argument" in the conflict. But he did not threaten to lessen America's contribution or any other moves if partners do not begin paying 2 percent of their respective GDPs, as NATO's charter calls for.

Stoltenberg said any use of chemical weapons is unacceptable and can not go unanswered.

There has been no Syrian retaliation so far for the cruise missile attack, which destroyed or rendered inoperable more than 20 Syria air force planes, he said.

Differences over a US missile strike on a Syrian air base last week also bubbled to the surface.

While most immediate, U.S.

Mattis and Votel did not comment on the status of a deconfliction line between USA and Russian forces used to avoid accidents in air space over Syria.

Wednesday's meeting occurred amid the worst U.S. -Russia diplomatic relations since the end of the Cold War, more than a quarter-century ago. But any such expectations have crashed into reality amid the nasty back-and-forth over Syria and ongoing US investigations into Russia's alleged interference in America's USA presidential election.

Still, Mr Tillerson sought to stress the positives from his meetings.

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"It is a serious issue". "Month after month we all repeat the same points in this chamber", she said. "We are mindful of the seriousness of that particular interference".