Rex Tillerson Warns Russia: Choose Between Assad and U.S.


Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had strong words for Russia on Tuesday after meeting with representatives from several countries at the Group of Seven meeting in Italy, according to a Tuesday report by the Associated Press.

The press agency summarized that the top U.S. diplomat “issued an ultimatum to Russia…Side with the U.S. and likeminded countries on Syria, or embrace Iran, militant group Hezbollah and embattled Syrian leader Bashar Assad.”

Secretary Tillerson emphasized, “We want to relieve the suffering of the Syrian people. Russia can be a part of that future and play an important role.” He added that Russia’s other option was to “maintain its alliance with this group, which we believe is not going to serve Russia’s interests longer term.”

The Trump administration official also contended that the Assad regime had a limited future.

“It is clear to all of us that the reign of the Assad family is coming to an end,” he [Tillerson] said. “But the question of how that ends and the transition itself could be very important in our view to the durability, the stability inside of a unified Syria.”

Tillerson will be traveling to Moscow later this week to meet with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov. The AP pointed out that “the United States has sought to minimize expectations for the trip or the likelihood that the U.S. will leave with any concessions from Russia regarding its support for Assad.”

[image via screengrab]

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