Rex Tillerson: Relations between US and Russia at a 'low point'

James Tennent

During a joint press conference in Moscow, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the relationship between Russia and the United States is at a "low point", adding that there is a "low level of trust" between the two superpowers.

Tillerson met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday (12 April) before his first face-to-face meeting with President Vladimir Putin as a member of the US government.

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The conference between the two foreign secretaries started off cordially before the two countries' differing views on Syria came up. Lavrov said that the US and Russia had agreed that the United Nations needed to investigate the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

Tillerson said that the US was still confident in its assessment that the chemical attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun which prompted the US to fire missiles at a Syrian airbase was ordered by the Assad regime. He added that the regime had used chlorine bombs and other chemical weapons at least 50 times.

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Lavrov said that Russia still believed that the regime was not responsible for the attack but that they were not attempting to "shield anyone". The Russian Foreign minister also continuously referred to previous Western interventions in the region when asked whether Assad should be removed from power.

US President Donald Trump launched around 50 missiles at an airbase in Syria which the US said was where the planes that carried out the chemical attack had flown from. Tillerson had previously said that Russia was either complicit of "simply incompetent" when it came to Assad's chemical weapons.

Tillerson and Lavrov in Moscow

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