Secretary of State Visits Moscow this Week
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will visit Moscow this week. He will not meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Instead he will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov according to Reuters. After President Trump ordered 59 cruise missiles fired at an air base in Syria, in retaliation for the nerve gas attack that killed at least 87 people, this has resulted in rather tense relations between the US and Russia.
British Secretary Says Russia Should End Support for Assad
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says that Russia should end its support for Assad before the G7 meeting in Lucca. The G7 consists of the 6 biggest Nato countries – the United States, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, France and Italy – and Japan, the most important US ally and a Nato partner in the Asia-Pacific region, where the Pentagon is lining up against China an increasing number of forces, including nuclear forces.
The British Foreign Secretary said, “It’s time for Vladimir Putin to face the truth about the tyrant he is propping up. We need to make it clear to Putin that the time to back Assad as gone.”
In the past Putin had several meetings with Tillerson when he ran Exxon Mobil. Putin personally awarded Tillerson a top Russian state award, the Order of Friendship, in 2013. There had been speculation that Putin would meet with Tillerson during his first trip to Russia as secretary of state. Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, did not say why Putin was not planning to receive Tillerson.
Even before the airstrike in Syria, it was believed that Tillerson’s visit to Moscow would face some difficult situations. These included the Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election; Washington’s accusation that Russia is violating an important arms control treaty; and trying to bridge differences on how to conduct the fight against Islamic State.