UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres stressed, following a meeting with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, that President Trump’s warning to the Syrian government of President Bashar Assad on its reported planned chemical weapons attack, as a very “serious warning” that “should be heard.”
In response to Washington’s warning, directed at Assad’s regime for what it said could be a planned chemical attack, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said his country will respond with dignity and proportionately if the United States would take preemptive measures against Syrian government forces, which are backed by Moscow. The Russian top diplomat stressed, during a press conference with his German counterpart, that Moscow hoped that Washington was not preparing to use its intelligence assessments about the Syrian government’s intentions as a pretext to mount an attack in Syria, a move that Minister Lavrov termed as “provocative”.
We will react with dignity, proportionally to the situation which may develop. Rex Tillerson called me, the leak on what we discussed again happened on the American side. So I can confirm now in order to avoid rumors and misconceptions that he called me and warned me that the United States have information about alleged preparation of the next, as he said, chemical attack by the government of the Syrian Arab Republic against the opposition.” / “I really expect that this time the United States will after all be guided by the necessity to protect the regime of non-proliferation of chemical weapons, and not speculate on some intelligence data, which are secret and cannot be shown to anyone, in order to provoke or create pretexts for carrying out strikes on the Syrian government army, which is fighting against terrorists,” said Lavrov.
The comments by the Russian Foreign Minister were the latest indication of the dire relations between Moscow and Washington. Nevertheless, ahead of a G20 summit that is scheduled to take place in Germany’s city of Hamburg next month, Lavrov said it was “especially important that Presidents Trump and Putin would have an opportunity to talk about the conflict in Syria, and establish joint efforts to normalize the impaired dialogue between Moscow and Washington with the aim of finding a peaceful solution to the conflict in Syria, which according to the United Nations, claimed the lives of more than half a million people, and created the worst refugee crisis since world war two