Wednesday 24 May 2017

'Trump administration's stance on Syria is a mystery' - Russian diplomat

US secretary of state Rex Tillerson arrives in Moscow (AP/ Ivan Sekretarev)
US secretary of state Rex Tillerson arrives in Moscow (AP/ Ivan Sekretarev)

Andrey Ostroukh

The US position on Syria remains a mystery to Moscow and Washington's rhetoric tends to be primitive and loutish, Russian news agencies quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying on Wednesday.

Ryabkov's remarks were released minutes before US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the highest level representative of the Trump administration to visit Russia, was due to start talks with his Russian counterpart.

Ryabkov said that at the talks Russia expected to discuss no-fly zones in Syria, and that North Korea and Ukraine would also be on the agenda.

"As a whole, the administration's stance with regard to Syria remains a mystery. Inconsistency is what comes to mind first of all," RIA news agency quoted Rybakov as telling reporters.

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (centre, on R) meets Russian deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov (centre, on L) in Damascus
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (centre, on R) meets Russian deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov (centre, on L) in Damascus

"In general, primitiveness and loutishness are very characteristic of the current rhetoric coming out of Washington. We'll hope that this doesn't become the substance of American policy," RIA quoted Ryabkov as saying.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a meeting with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that it was important not to allow a repeat of U.S. strikes in Syria.

Lavrov said the strikes carried out by the United States on a Syrian airbase last week were unlawful.

He added that he expected to hold frank and honest discussions with Tillerson on forming a broad anti-terrorism coalition.

Reuters

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