“Do not strike the Syrian regime again.” Was the primary statement of the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the beginning of a meeting with his US counterpart Rex Tillerson in Moscow.
After a chemical attack in northwestern Syria, the old Cold War enemies have come together again trough the two top diplomats in Moscow for what are expected to be painstaking talks.
The suspected chemical killed 89 people, and prompted the US to carry out its first strike against the Syrian regime in the six-year conflict. The result of this attack is taking out aircraft and infrastructure at a Syrian military air base.
Russia and Syria were accused by The White house of carrying out a confusion campaign over who was responsible for the chemical attack. Russian President Vladimir Putin in a statement, compared this US intervention to its 2003 intervention in Iraq, calling it a “tedious” story.
Russia, Assad’s most powerful ally, has denied the regime carried out the attack.
According to Lavrov: “Russia saw some very troubling actions regarding the attack on Syria.” and he also added: “We believe it is fundamentally important not to let these actions happen again,”.
He also complained about the mixed messages coming out of Washington on the Trump administration’s policy on Syria, with the US envoy to the UN, Nikki Haley, making clear Assad should have no future in Syria as Tillerson took a softer line.
Lavrov about this situation had this to add: “I will be frank that we had a lot of questions regarding a lot of very ambiguous as well as contradictory ideas on a whole plethora of bilateral and international agenda coming from Washington.”
The two representatives stood in front of their respective flags beneath a grand chandelier and took their seats on opposite sides of the table, from which Lavrov delivered his welcome. The results from the talks are soon to be made public.