Rex Tillerson Visits Russia Amid Syria Tensions

Rex Tillerson talking and gesturing

Rex Tillerson Visits Russia Amid Syria Tensions

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrives on Tuesday in Russia, amid escalating tensions concerning the Syrian situation. Tillerson is a recipient of the Russian Order of Friendship from Russian President Vladimir Putin, and he will now seek to shed some light on Syria’s supposed use of Sarin gas on civilians. Also, to explain United States president Donald Trump’s recent military action meant to destabilize Russia’s support for President Bashar al-Assad. Long story short, the Secretary of State’s visit might prove to be the most difficult he will ever have to accomplish.

What will Tillerson do?

According to some State Department officials, Rex Tillerson is planning to somehow shame Russian president Vladimir Putin. Also, to prove that his country is responsible for what Assad has been doing. The Secretary of State is hoping that by doing this, Putin will see where he went wrong. Then, he will maybe make an effort to end this conflict. Moreover, to even break the relationship between Moscow and Damascus. Tillerson is also hoping to be able to calmly discuss all those problems, with the Russian president and with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. They are the people with the greatest influence over Assad, as his biggest allies. So, they are maybe the only people who can pressure him not to use chemical weapons anymore.

It is interesting to note that former Secretary of State John Kerry talked for months with Lavrov. However, he was not able to convince him to agree on a ceasefire between the Syrian opposition and the regime. At the time, many accused former president Barack Obama of not having enough influence in those talks because he refused to use military action. Now, the situation has changed and president Donald Trump did exactly that. It will be interesting to see whether or not this will give Tillerson the upper hand in the talks with Russia.

The West is backing Tillerson

Rex Tillerson will be travelling to Moscow directly from Lucca, Italy. There, he met with many of his counterparts, including United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Johnson actually cancelled his trip to Moscow after last week’s attack. Also, he stated that the Western powers are doing everything they can to support Tillerson in his talks with Russia concerning the Syrian situation. Still, officials are reportedly realistic in their expectations and are prepared for anything.

Image source: usnews


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