Tillerson in Moscow, calls on Russia to give up supporting Assad

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived in Moscow Tuesday for critical talks. He came from a G7 foreign ministers meeting in Lucca, Italy, with a united message on Syria, which was blamed for the poison gas attack which killed 87 people last week: “It is clear to us that the reign of the Assad family is coming to an end,” he said. "We hope that the Russian government will realize they have aligned themselves with an unreliable partner in Bashar al-Assad.” The Secretary said Russia had failed in its role as sponsor of a 2013 deal under which Assad promised to give up his chemical arsenal. "It is unclear whether Russia failed to take this obligation seriously and whether Russia has been incompetent. But this distinction doesn't much matter to the dead. We can't let this happen again."

Tillerson is due to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Wednesday. The Kremlin has said Tillerson would not meet Putin during this trip, although some Russian media have reported that such a meeting may nevertheless take place. The G7 meeting did not agree on sanctions against Russia. 

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