No positive shift yet on Russia-US ties

"They fabricated the whole story in order to have a pretext for the attack", Assad said in his first interview since the attack. Secretary Tillerson told President Putin peace can not happen in Syria while Assad is still in power.

Putin shot back that the charge was fabricated and accused the administration of Trump, who USA intelligence agencies believe benefited from Russian cyberattacks meant to embarrass his Democratic rival during the election campaign, of fabricating the evidence to create a fake confrontation.

Despite hopes of an improvement in ties under Trump, the Tillerson-Lavrov talks look set to be dominated by the war of words over Syria - where more than 320,000 people have died in six years of brutal war.

"We saw a veto from Russian Federation today because the reality is, there's absolutely no question that Bashar al-Assad and his regime were responsible for the strikes".

The press conference that concluded the Tillerson visit marked a stepping back from rhetorical brinkmanship on the part of both Russian Federation and the US, but offered little in the way of concrete outcomes.

The biggest wedge in the relationship is Russia's continued support for Syrian leader Bashar Al-Assad.

On whether Assad should be charged as a war criminal, Tillerson did not rule it out, noting however that doing so would require clearing a legal hurdle.

Mr Lavrov denounced America's missile strikes on a Syrian airbase, launched in the aftermath of the attack, as illegal -and accused Washington of behaving unpredictably. But Lavrov more or less scoffed at the idea.

Every country in the world, Canada included, is scrambling to catch up to some breathtaking changes in the fundamental approach of the United States to global politics.

"We reminded them that US actions like the April 7 attacks on Syria contradict this task", Lavrov said, recalling that he and Tillerson discussed the need to intensify Russian-US efforts and mobilize the worldwide community to fight terrorism. Tillerson conceded the two world powers had "sharp differences" that have obstructed cooperation but voiced optimism that their talks could narrow those differences.

"The world's two foremost nuclear powers can not have this kind of relationship", Tillerson said.

In another possible setback to a thaw with Moscow, Trump said on Wednesday that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is not obsolete, as he had declared during the election campaign previous year.

Trump said U.S. relations with Russian Federation were not going well.

This comes as the rift between the United States and Russian Federation deepens over the recent happenings in Syria.

All-time low, you say? This has built for a long period of time. Washington in retaliation launched missile strikes on a Syrian air base they say was the starting point for the chemical weapons attack, a move that ratcheted up tensions between the United States and Syria's ally Russian Federation.

"Are we insisting on it? No".

"Putin is backing a person that's truly an evil person, and I think it's very bad for Russian Federation, I think it's very bad for mankind, it's very bad for this world", Trump added in the interview.

Liu said China supports the language in the text that condemns the use of chemical weapons and demands an investigation into the alleged chemical attack.

More than 80 people were killed in what the US has described as a nerve gas attack that Assad's forces undoubtedly carried out.

Two days later, the United States launched 59 cruise missiles against the Shairat military base in central Syria, where the United States believes airplanes carrying chemical weapons took off.

Moscow has stood by Assad, saying the poison gas belonged to rebels, an explanation Washington dismisses as beyond credible.

The polarized positions were evident at the UN Security Council on Wednesday, when Russian Federation vetoed a Western-drafted resolution that would have required Syrian cooperation in an investigation into the suspected chemical attack. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, sitting to Tillerson's right, also spoke about their meeting.


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