Trump declares US-Russia relations may be at 'all-time low'

Trump declares US-Russia relations may be at 'all-time low'

"Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday that relations between the two countries are at "a low point" as clear divides remain over Syria, Moscow's alleged meddling in US elections and a host of other major issues".

On April 4, a reported toxic gas attack hit the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in Syria's Idlib, killing over 80 people and wounding scores of others.

"Our meeting today comes at an important moment in our relationship so that we can further clarify areas of common objectives, areas of common interest - even where our tactical approaches may be different - and further clarify areas of sharp difference so that we can better understand why these differences exist", he said.

"There is a low level of trust between our countries", Tillerson told reporters at a joint news conference with his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, after the first face-to-face meetings between Russian leaders and a top emissary of the Trump administration.

"U.S. and Russian interests, whether in Syria, toward North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, human rights, etc. are far too different-despite President Trump's earlier interest in an understanding". Early expectations of an easy rapport between the Trump administration and Russian Federation have crashed into reality as the two countries have traded escalating accusations over what happened last week in a chemical attack in Syria. The U.S. has said its intelligence reports show conclusively that the chemical attack was planned and carried out by Syria.

"Our view is that the reign of the Assad family is coming to an end, and they have again, brought this on themselves", Tillerson said.

Russian Federation - refusing to concede that Assad - was behind the attacks.

The civil war is separate from the USA -led effort against the Islamic State group in the north of the country.

In the days since the attacks, U.S.

Initially, Russia earlier this week called for an investigation into the chemical attack.

Tillerson said Wednesday that he did not have "firm information" to indicate any Russian involvement in the attack.

Tillerson said the two countries had agreed to set up a "working group" to coordinate on "smaller issues". It's unclear whether Putin will grant Tillerson a meeting.

Lavrov had greeted Tillerson with unusually icy remarks, denouncing the missile strike on Syria as illegal and accusing Washington of behaving unpredictably.

Lavrov told Tillerson Moscow was hoping to understand Washington's "real intentions" and warned that the Kremlin considered it "fundamentally important" to prevent more "unlawful" United States strikes against its ally Syria. "We consider it of utmost importance to prevent the risks of replay of similar action in the future".

Western ambassadors blasted Russian Federation earlier Wednesday for continuing to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after his alleged use of sarin on a rebel-held area of his country. "But we're going to see what happens", Trump told the news conference.

Mr Putin made the statement on Wednesday as Moscow delivered an unusually hostile reception to Mr Tillerson in a face-off over Syria.

The meeting comes as early expectations of an easy rapport between the Trump administration and Russian Federation are crashing into reality. In an interview yesterday, Putin said that if Donald Trump had meant to bring about a thaw in USA relations with Russian Federation, he has failed to see this intention through.

"I won't hide the fact that we have a lot of questions, taking into account the extremely ambiguous and sometimes contradictory ideas which have been expressed in Washington across the whole spectrum of bilateral and multilateral affairs", he said. "I suggest you look at this vote very carefully and heed this warning".

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