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
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson revealed in a hearing at the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, that the Palestinians had changed their policy and would stop making payments to families of suicide bombers. Tillerson noted that the Palestinian decision came following a demand by the Trump administration to immediately stop the payments, during Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s visit to Washington. Secretary Tillerson further declared during the hearing that payments to families of Palestinians that committed suicide bombings in Israel are unacceptable to the United States and to the American people.
The comments by the American top diplomat, however, were rejected by the Palestinian Authority, as its official in charge of prisoner affairs, Issa Qaraqa, declared the families of those killed during attacks against Israel, as well as Palestinian prisoners currently incarcerated in Israeli jails for committing acts of terror, will continue to receive their funding. The Palestinian official revealed that the reason there was an issue with the payments to both prisoners and families of killed terrorists, was because Israel decided to deduct the amount the Palestinian Authority pays them from the transfers of Palestinian tax revenues it collects on behalf of the Authority.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson accused Iran of what he said was “alarming ongoing provocations” to destabilize countries in the Middle East, of undermining US interests in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon and of an ongoing aspiration to develop nuclear weapons capabilities that potentially could lead to the same path of North Korea.
“The Trump administration is currently conducting, across the entire government, a review of our Iran policy. Today, I’d like to address Iran’s alarming ongoing provocations that export terror and violence, destabilizing more than one country at a time.Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, and is responsible for intensifying multiple conflicts and undermining U.S. interest in countries such as Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon and continuing to support attacks against Israel. An unchecked Iran has the potential to travel the same path as North Korea and take the world along with it. The United States is keen to avoid a second piece of evidence that strategic patience is a failed approach. A comprehensive Iran policy requires that we address all of the threats posed by Iran — and is clear there are many. Iran continues to support the brutal Assad regime in Syria, prolonging a conflict that has killed approximately half a million Syrians and displaced millions more,” said Tillerson.
Secretary Tillerson reemphasized that Washington would reevaluate its policy on Iran to assure the ongoing actions by the Islamic Republic would be thwarted. “The Trump administration has no intention of passing the buck to a future administration on Iran. The evidence is clear: Iran’s provocative actions threaten the United States, the region, and the world. As I indicated at the beginning, the Trump administration is currently conducting a comprehensive review of our Iran policy. Once we have finalized our conclusions we will meet the challenges Iran poses with clarity and conviction. Thank you,” added Tillerson.
Tillerson also said that the Iran nuclear deal, which was advanced and endorsed by the previous US Administration of President Barack Obama, completely ignored the other serious threats that Iran poses to the world, a fact that has allowed Tehran to continue with its dangerous activities.
Chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano, who heads the organization that is in charge of monitoring Iran’s compliance with the nuclear agreement reached with world powers, met with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at the State Department in Washington for the first time. The United Nations nuclear watchdog Chief was said by officials to advocate on behalf of the agreement, after the American top diplomat called for a full review of the nuclear accord.
The Agreement, reached in July of 2015 between Tehran and the P5+1 – the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain plus Germany – demands from the Islamic Republic to limit its nuclear program, after intelligence agencies indicated Iran’s aspiration of developing nuclear weapons. In exchange for Iranian compliance to the nuclear accord, the International community agreed to lift crippling sanctions on Tehran’s economy. Tillerson’s call for a “full review” of the accord, aligns with the positions of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump, both of whom have blasted the agreement as a “historic mistake,” and “the worst deal ever negotiated.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also acts as Israel’s Foreign minister, met last night with his American counterpart, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, during which the two discussed a series of issues related to the Middle East. Prime Minister Netanyahu invited Secretary Tillerson to visit Israel, in order to establish direct ties between the American top diplomat and his staff, with the Prime Minister’s Bureau.
President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, announced he would recommend a “full review of the nuclear agreement with Iran, but noted that he did not call for an outright rejection of the 2015 accord. Speaking in his Senate confirmation hearing, Tillerson stressed that it was imperative to verify whether the Islamic Republic is indeed meeting its obligations.
“With respect to the recent agreement to limit Iran’s ability to advance or make progress towards developing a nuclear weapon, If confirmed are my recommendations and I think this consistent with president elect is now is to do a full review of that agreement as well as any number of side agreements that I understand are part of that agreement, examine what you know whether Iran and our ability to verify whether Iran is meeting its obligations under the agreement and ensure that we are enforcing all the mechanisms available to hold them to that agreement,” said Tillerson.
During the Presidential campaign, President elect Donald Trump has repeatedly bashed the nuclear agreement, saying his “number one priority” would be to dismantle it, a declaration warmly welcomed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who on several occasions has referred to the agreement with the Islamic Republic, which openly calls for Israel’s destruction, as “a historic mistake.”