Tillerson: Russia Must Choose Between Assad and US

Poll Majority of Americans Approve of Syria Airstrikes Want Congressional Approval for Further Action

Hours ahead of his first scheduled trip to Moscow, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said it was clear that "the reign of the Assad family is coming to an end", CBS News correspondent Margaret Brennan reports.

He also complained about the mixed messages coming out of Washington on the Trump administration's policy on Syria, with the USA envoy to the UN, Nikki Haley, making clear Assad should have no future in Syria as Tillerson took a softer line.

Tillerson spoke after a meeting of the "likeminded" countries was hastily arranged on the sidelines of the summit of the Group of Seven industrialized economies in Italy, days after the US for the first time launched airstrikes against Assad's forces.

The G-7 blames Assad's military for a deadly chemical attack last week that killed more than 80 people.

On Tuesday, Tillerson will travel to Moscow, where he will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

"We have carefully analyzed the materials in the media accusing the Syrian government of using chemical weapons in the settlement of Khan Shaykhun in Idlib province, their authenticity is highly questionable", Rudskoi said.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said Russian Federation was to blame "by proxy" for Assad's chemical weapons attack because it was the Syria's "principal backer".

The U.S. official said the presence of the surveillance drone over the hospital couldn't have been a coincidence, and that Russian Federation must have known the chemical weapons attack was coming and that victims were seeking treatment.

Foreign ministers of leading industrialized nations were meeting Monday amid heightened tensions between Russian Federation and the United States over the Trump administration's unexpected military strike on a Syrian airbase.




"Everyone wants to restore relations in the Western community after - thanks to the former U.S. administration - many European countries adopted an anti-Trump position during the election campaign", he said.

In comparison, Haley told CNN Sunday that removing Assad was a USA priority and inevitable.

"We can not let this happen again", the secretary of state said.

Washington has sent mixed signals about whether it shares the determination of allies such as Britain that Assad must be removed from power. Officially announcing the strike, US President Donald Trump claimed that the targeted airfield had launched the chemical attack on the rebel-held area in Idlib.

A Foreign Office source said: 'The plan we want is Assad gone from Syria, there is no future for him, we need to work out how to do that. The dossier also derided a "drumbeat of nonsensical claims" from Syria and its allies, a clear reference to Russian Federation.

"If you look at his actions, if you look at the situation, it's going to be hard to see a government that's peaceful and stable with Assad", she said. "President Trump and his counterparts agreed to stay in touch regarding Syria and other global issues of mutual concern".

Krauthammer said may be foolish for an American secretary of state to lecture Russian Federation on its own best interests.

The move is likely in part aimed at sending a message to the governments of North Korea and Iran, two key actors in the Trump administration's list of foreign policy priorities. I think what you're going to see is strong leadership. "We should always take this into account, especially when certain things are repeated with similar dynamics, and trigger the same reactions and the same effects already experienced in the past".

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