Boris Johnson cancels landmark Russian Federation visit after Syria chemical weapons attack

Tomas Mccoy
April 11, 2017

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

On Friday US envoy to the UN, Nikki Haley, said America was "prepared to do more if necessary" and would not stand by while chemical weapons were used, while the Pentagon said it was investigating whether Russian Federation took part in the chemical attacks that killed up to 100 civilians in Idlib on Tuesday.

"This cancellation of the visit followed its recent postponing", she said.

The foreign ministers of the seven most powerful industrial countries are scheduled to meet on April 10-11 in Italy preparing for the high-level leaders' summit in Italy later in May to discuss issues concerning global peace and security. "Russia has had a very hard time getting Assad to come to the negotiating table in any meaningful way", said Andrew Tabler, a Syria analyst for the Washington Institute, a think tank focused on the Middle East.

At the same time, Russia's Defense Ministry assessed the combat effectiveness of the USA cruise missile strike at the airbase in Syria as "extremely low". Nothing will work and nothing will be achieved.

He added that the same thing was done in the Syrian city of Aleppo by Russian specialists after militants had used chemical weapons.

Washington should instead focus on trying to ensure full compliance with the truce negotiated by Syria's warring parties and seriously work with Russian Federation to help the peace talks between the Assad regime and rebels that resumed in February bear fruit. In Florida on Thursday, Tillerson said of Assad, "There's no role for him to govern the Syrian people".

He played down the possibility of escalating tensions between the U.S. and Russian Federation.

USA officials portrayed the strikes as an appropriate, measured response and said they did not signal a broader shift in the Trump administration's approach to the Syrian conflict.

Nasr al-Hariri, chief negotiator of the High Negotiations Committee (HNC), said on Twitter that the strikes "should they continue, would kick off a correct start in combating terrorism".

The chemical attack on Monday killed at least 80 people in the northwestern part of Syria and led to the USA launching more than 50 Tomahawk missiles from warships stationed in the Mediterranean at a Syrian airfield.

Russian defence ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov sought to play down the impact, claiming fewer than half the missiles reached the air base, destroying just six Syrian MiG-23 fighters and leaving the runway intact.

The surprise barrage of 59 cruise missiles in the early hours of Friday, UK time, was the first time the USA has struck directly against the Syrian government.

At least 70 people died in what the United States says was a chemical weapons attack in rebel-held Syria.

"Using a deadly nerve agent, Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children. It was a slow and brutal death for so many", he said. "No child of God should ever suffer such horror".

Downing Street was swift to offer its backing for the United States action, which was also supported by Israel, Australia, France, Germany and European Council president Donald Tusk.

The US stepped up the pressure on Sunday on Russian Federation to rein in the Syrian government, warning that any further chemical attacks would be "very damaging" to their relationship and suggesting any peace deal would be hard with Assad in power.

Moscow received no prior warning before Trump unleashed thousands of pounds of ordnance on Syria, according to Tillerson, and Russian Federation is demanding an explanation for Trump's stunning decision.

Other reports by VideoGamingPros

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