Russia vetoes UN resolution to condemn Syria chemical attack

TO APRIL 12- Russian Deputy U.N. Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov shows his hand to vote against a resolution condemning Syria's use of chemical weapons Wednesday

'Relations are at a low point; there is a low level of trust between the two countries, ' Tillerson said at a news conference with his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, CNN reports.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said ties with the United States have deteriorated under the administration of Donald Trump as their top diplomats locked horns today over the Syrian conflict.

The powers are at odds over the fate of Moscow's longtime ally President Bashar al-Assad, a rift exacerbated after an alleged Syrian chemical attack last week that triggered a punitive United States missile strike.

Russia's top foreign minister said Wednesday that his country will consider reopening a phone line with the United States used to avoid aircraft collisions over Syria only if the US agrees to stop attacking Syrian government targets.

But Russia, an ally of Syria, blocked a draft UN Security Council resolution which would require President Assad to provide information about air operations and grant inspectors immediate access to air bases.

Trump made the remark at a joint press conference with visiting NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the White House.

Only weeks ago, it appeared that Trump, who praised Putin throughout the USA election campaign, was poised for a potentially historic rapprochement with Russian Federation.

China typically sides with Russian Federation in the Security Council, including in opposing USA -backed measures to punish Syria for its use of chemical weapons. Trump said in a note on Twitter.

Tillerson denied knowledge that Russian Federation was somehow involved in the chemical attack, but said: "What we do know...is that the attack was planned [and] carried out by the regime forces of Bashar al-Assad". On Tuesday, he blasted Russian Federation for not living up to its 2013 commitment to eliminate Assad's chemical weapons stockpile. I mean, Tillerson says the reign of Bashar al-Assad's family is coming to an end, and Lavrov complained about what he said was the obsession with toppling dictators. "The world's two foremost nuclear powers can not have this kind of relationship", he said in the news conference, adding that Moscow and Washington had agreed to establish a working group to identify problems and improve bilateral relations.

Still, Mr Lavrov sought to put a positive spin on the talks with Mr Tillerson, saying they helped improve mutual understanding.

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

Trump said, "I would like to think that they didn't know, but certainly they could have".

In the days since the attacks, U.S. "We consider it of utmost importance to prevent the risks of replay of similar action in the future".

"Frankly, Putin is backing a person that is truly an evil person", Trump said. We won't get a political solution overnight.

Mr Johnson said: "The worldwide community sought to make clear that any use of chemical weapons by anyone anywhere is unacceptable and that those responsible will face consequences".

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