Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Putin Shrugs Off Criticism of Syria Ties before Tillerson Visit

THE GUARDIAN: Russian president calls for UN inquiry as he compares chemical attack claims against Syria to US accusations Iraq had WMDs

Vladimir Putin has shrugged off western criticism of his support for the Syrian regime, shortly after the top US diplomat said Bashar al-Assad’s days in power were numbered, ratcheting up tensions between the the US and Russia before talks in Moscow.

The US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, had hoped to underscore the US position with a unified message from the G7, which condemned the chemical attack at a summit in Italy on Tuesday. However, G7 foreign ministers were divided over possible next steps and refused to back a UK call for fresh sanctions.

Putin said western and Turkish accusations that Syria’s government dropped the nerve agent sarin that killed dozens of civilians in Idlib earlier this month were comparable with the now-discredited claim that Saddam Hussein’s had stockpiled weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. » | Emma Graham-Harrison and Heather Stewart | Tuesday, April 11, 2017