MOSCOW - Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with President Vladimir Putin of Russia for almost two hours Wednesday, but the two men appeared unable to agree on the facts involving the deadly chemical weapons assault on Syrian civilians or Russian interference in the USA election - much less move toward an improvement in basic relations.
"To Assad and the Syrian government: you have no friends in the world after your disgusting actions", Haley said. Lavrov said it was tilted to blame Assad.
In a round of tense talks, one of the most pressing issues on the table was the chemical gas attack in Syria and the ensuing strike by the U.S. on a Syrian air base.
"I think it's certainly possible".
-Russian ties from both Trump and Tillerson reflected the former Cold War foes' inability to forge better relations, as Trump until recently has advocated.
But that prospect appeared remote, with Trump's secretary of state Rex Tillerson getting a frosty reception in Moscow, and Russian Federation using its UN Security Council veto to swat down a US-backed resolution demanding Syrian cooperation in probing a suspected chemical attack last week. He even pointed out that all the vacancies in the U.S. State Department make it hard to tell what's going on in the U.S. capital.
It was not clear until the last minute whether Putin would grant Tillerson an audience, but the fact that he did is likely to be seen as a sign that Moscow has not given up on the new USA administration and wants to try to improve ties which both sides agree are languishing at a post Cold War low. "And Russia said no to a resolution that would have helped promote peace in Syria". One was the United States re-affirm it is committed to attacking the Nusra Front, an al-Qaida affiliated terrorist group that is also fighting to remove Assad from power in Syria.
But such hopes appeared optimistic as the diplomats outlined their sharply diverging views on Syria.
"It wasn't just us - it's the entire global community holding the Assad regime and its sponsors responsible for the chemical attack and indiscriminate mass murders". But Tillerson repeated the administration's new belief that "the reign of the Assad family is coming to an end".
The Ukrainian issue was on the agenda of Tillerson's talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, in Moscow on Wednesday.
The first visit to Moscow by a senior Trump administration official took place amid heightened tensions after the US accused the Assad government of a chemical-weapons attack in Idlib province and said Russian Federation was covering up the atrocity. "We consider it of utmost importance to prevent the risks of replay of similar action in the future".
Some of Washington's allies had been wary of Trump, who spoke during his election campaign of seeking closer ties with Moscow and questioned the value of USA support for its traditional friends.
Also Wednesday, Lavrov said the allegations of Russian meddling in the US presidential election haven't been proven.