Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appeared on ABC’s This Week, and the main topic of discussion (of course) involved President Trump’s missile strike on Syria, which was a response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical attack on his own people. This atrocity was one of countless violations of the 2013 agreement for Syria to destroy all of its chemical weapons by mid-2014. Many have pointed at Russia (which has provided ongoing military aid to Assad, including the bombing of humanitarian convoys, during the Syrian Civil War) as being “complicit” in Assad’s continued use of chemical weapons. As such, George Stephanopoulos asked Tillerson to address the matter.
In the above clip, Tillerson issues a “disappointed” response over how Russia condemned the U.S. military strike. He also calls it a “real failure” of Russia for being the guarantor of the chemical weapons agreement and being unable to achieve the goal of elimination:
“We are asking Russia to fulfill its commitment and we’re asking and calling on Bashar al-Assad to cease the use of these weapons. Other than that, there is no change to our military posture.”
In a second clip (which you can see below), Tillerson stresses that there’s currently no “hard evidence” that Russia was involved “in this particular chemical attack” (although the Pentagon says an investigation is in the works). Russia did condemn Trump’s missile strike, but Tillerson mentions that Russia was not a target (and was warned of) the U.S. strike, which Tillerson asserts was “well-planned, proportional, it was directly related to the chemical attack.”
However, Tillerson carefully points out that he’s not calling Russia “complicit” in this chemical attack, but “clearly, they’ve been incompetent.” He also hopes that Russia will reconsider its alliance with Assad, which he says may eventually affect U.S. relations with Russia. To that, Stephanopoulos reminded Tillerson how Russia already damaged these relations by meddling in the U.S. election. Tillerson has no real response on that note.
(Via ABC News)