“It was a long day,” said Wednesday, April 12, at the end of the negotiation day with U.S. Secretary of state Rex Tillerson, the Minister of foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov.
His first visit to Moscow US state Secretary Rex Tillerson came on April 11, six days after the US launched a missile attack on the airfield shirt, which is controlled by the government of Syria. “I believe your arrival is very timely. It provides a much-needed opportunity <…> openly and honestly to try to clarify the prospects for cooperation,” greeted Rex Tillerson morning of April 12 at the mansion of the foreign Ministry on Spiridonovka Sergei Lavrov. In the very first words Lavrov stressed that the US action in Syria Moscow considers unacceptable. “We believe it is critically important to prevent risk of recurrence of such actions in the future,” the Minister said.
Tillerson, in remarks to the press in Syria is not mentioned at all, and only talked about the hope that the visit will help to clarify the positions of the parties in areas “in which our goals and our challenges are shared and our interests are the same, despite the differences in tactical approaches.”
The negotiations lasted almost five hours, and then Tillerson went to the hotel. In the evening he was received by President of Russia Vladimir Putin, the press Secretary of the President Dmitry Peskov did not confirm that this meeting will be held, until it started. The tradition of meetings of Putin with US Secretary of state has developed in the last four years, when the post was occupied by John Kerry. However, Tillerson Putin for talks only spent about two hours (less than usual with Kerry). The negotiations themselves were behind closed doors, although at the beginning of meetings with Kerry journalists were allowed.
Chemical attack differences
The main topic will be Syria, pointed out Russian and us officials before the talks. The positions of the US and Russia differ on the key question of what happened in the Syrian city of Khan shaykhun in Idlib province on April 4 of this year. The President of the United States Donald trump claims that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons against residents of Khan shaykhun. Evidence that chemical weapons were used by Assad’s military, were granted 11 April, when Tillerson was already in Moscow. The newspaper the New York Times published a four-page report prepared by the intelligence agencies to the White house: based on the survey data, individual blood and physiological samples (samples) and open data, it was found that the attack was carried out by the su-22 government of the air force, we used sarin gas.
Sergei Lavrov (left) and Rex Tillerson (second from right) during the talks
Photo: Stanislav Krasilnikov / TASS
Moscow, according to the report, covers the Syrian regime. “Moscow responds to the incident on 4 April the attack, using the same familiar scheme to which she resorted in response to other horrific actions. It spreads many conflicting messages to create confusion and sow doubt in the international community”, — the document says. The Russian version of the incident was presented by the President Putin in interview of broadcasting company “World”: one says that the air strike of the Syrian Arab Republic fell in a sweatshop with toxic substances and the civilian population suffered as a result of the toxic spill from this facility. However, the President does not exclude that it was “just a statement, that is a provocation.”
Flying to Moscow from the summit of foreign Ministers “the seven”, Tillerson said that Russia needs to make a choice — to support the falling regime of Assad in Alliance with Iran and Lebanese Hizbullah, or to join the West.
At this statement, Lavrov also said at the beginning of the negotiations. According to him, Russia is interested in cooperation and dialogue based on international law, and “not under the influence of momentary situation or a false choice — either you are with us or against us.”
The atmosphere at the talks, Lavrov and Tillerson were businesslike and friendly, however, expressed positions generally coincide with what was mentioned in the media: the American side again said that Russia should “make the choice in Syria,” said the source familiar with the negotiations. Russian negotiators, on the contrary, spoke of the need for a detailed investigation of the incident in Khan Sheyhun.
The end of a long day
Russian side saw the willingness of the US to support the investigation into the incident in Khan Sheyhun, said at a press conference, Lavrov. In turn, Vladimir Putin confirmed his readiness to resume cooperation between the military of Russia and the USA in Syria, but on condition that will be confirmed: the purpose of the actions of the us military really is to fight with terrorist groups, said Lavrov.
The negotiators, he said, also expressed support for continuing diplomatic negotiations on the Syrian settlement.
The role and the future of President Bashar al-Assad also discussed, said Tillerson. The Secretary of state confirmed the conviction that the reign of Assad is coming to an end. “Russia can help Assad to understand this reality,” said Secretary of state. The departure of Assad, he said, should be the result of dialogue and a structured process, and all Syrian communities should be represented at the negotiating table on the future structure of Syria.
Lavrov said that the talks Tillerson said he does not like historical excursions. However, without them, according to Lavrov, it is impossible to predict the consequences of “obsession with the elimination of the dictator.” The foreign Minister cited as example the fate of Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya after the overthrow of the rulers of these countries.
Speaking about other issues, Lavrov said that the US is interested in maintaining a communication channel in Ukraine. Previously, this subject in the state Department was in charge of Victoria Nuland, and from the Russian side the assistant to the President Vladislav Surkov. New supervisors have not yet been determined.