The foreign ministers of the Group of Seven nations are firmly in Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s corner as he prepares to meet with his Russian counterpart on Tuesday in Moscow.
Representative of the G-7 countries, who are gathered in Lucca, Italy for a special meeting on the Syria situation, have backed the U.S. position that Russia should drop its support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and the other G-7 ministers on Monday called for a “clear and coordinated message” condemning Russian support for the Syrian government, Fox News reported.
Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano, the host of the G-7 meetings, said Europe supported the U.S. missile strike against al-Assad, claiming that it has brought a “renewed harmony” between the U.S. and its transatlantic partners.
In the aftermath of last week’s deadly chemical weapons attack against Syrian rebels, Tillerson laid part of the blame at Russia’s feet, saying “Either Russia has been complicit or Russia has been simply incompetent” when it comes to controlling its client regime in Damascus. He kept up the tough talk on the Sunday news show circuit, urging Russian President Vladimir Putin to reassess his commitment to al-Assad.
“I hope Russia is thinking carefully about its continued alliance with Bashar al-Assad, because every time one of these horrific attacks occurs, it draws Russia closer into some level of responsibility,” Tillerson said on ABC’s “This Week.” (RELATED: Tillerson Says Destroying ISIS Still ‘First Priority’ In Syria)
With the G-7 countries supporting increased pressure on Putin to dump al-Assad, Moscow is now further isolated Russia from the economic powerhouses of Europe, as well as Japan. A former member of the G-8, Russia was booted from the group in 2014 over its annexation of the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine.
Russia has given no indication that it intends to withdraw support for the Syrian regime, and it denounced the U.S. missile strike as an “aggression on Syria” that represents a “crossing of red lines.”
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