Tillerson Gives Russia Ultimatum

Posted: Apr 11, 2017 7:45 AM

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson gave Russia an ultimatum on Tuesday: either stand with the West when it comes to Syria, or side with Syrian President Bashar al Assad, Iran, and Hezbollah.

Tillerson, who was traveling to Russia after the G7 summit in Italy, said whether Russia did not take its duty to rid Syria of chemical weapons seriously or whether it had been incompetent was unclear. The difference, however, "doesn't much matter to the dead," he said.

"We cannot let this happen again," he added.

"We want to relieve the suffering of the Syrian people. Russia can be a part of that future and play an important role," Tillerson told reporters. "Or Russia can maintain its alliance with this group, which we believe is not going to serve Russia's interests longer term."

Tillerson also said the U.S. sees the “reign of the Assad family coming to an end.”

"But the question of how that ends and the transition itself could be very important in our view to the durability, the stability inside of a unified Syria," he said.

"That's why we are not presupposing how that occurs," Tillerson added.

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