United Kingdom foreign minister cancels planned visit to Moscow over Syria's

Audrey Hill
April 11, 2017

"We deplore Russia's continued defence of the Assad regime even after the chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians", Johnson said.

Nikki Haley, the USA ambassador to the United Nations, told an emergency meeting of the world body's Security Council that Washington was ready to go further.

The chemical attack on Monday killed at least 80 people in the northwestern part of Syria and led to the United States launching more than 50 Tomahawk missiles from warships stationed in the Mediterranean at a Syrian airfield. But political experts say with the show of force is risky, with Russian Federation backing Assad.

"Let's be quite clear: the Assad regime is a client state of Russian Federation".

In a statement later, Johnson said, "Developments in Syria have changed the situation fundamentally". "It's important that we keep our priorities straight".

Trump has changed his tack, drawing Russian opprobrium as a result.

The UK's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson set the tone for the meeting, describing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as "toxic" and saying it was "time for (Russian President) Vladimir Putin to face the truth about the tyrant he is propping up".

"According to the United Nations, the Syrian government does not possess chemical weapons", he said.

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The missile attack caused heavy damage to one of Syria's biggest and most strategic air bases, used to launch warplanes to strike opposition-held areas throughout Syria.

If true, this is embarrassing for President Donald Trump, who justified the airstrike by talking of "beautiful babies cruelly murdered" in the chemical attack blamed on the Syrian regime. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is investigating the attack, but has yet to reach a conclusion.

"The former ExxonMobil chief executive noted that holding such talks would require the participation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime along with its allies".

"We're hopeful that Russian Federation will choose to play a constructive role in supporting ceasefires through their own Astana talks, but also, ultimately, through Geneva", Tillerson said.

The ministry said it also showed once more that there was little to gain from talking to Britain, which it said had no real influence over world affairs.

"So the onus now is on Russian Federation to ensure that Syria does not engage in any other provocative actions, and that Russian Federation itself does not engage in any other provocative actions". "Assad's principal backer is Russian Federation".

Russia intends to discuss worldwide counter-terrorism with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during his upcoming visit next week, despite clouded Russian-U.S. ties, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharov said Saturday. "What America waged in an aggression on Syria is a crossing of red lines".

Washington has long backed rebels fighting Assad in a multi-sided civil war that has killed more than 400,000 people and driven half of Syrians from their homes since 2011.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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