Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had strong words for the United States on Thursday, labelling the US military airstrike in Syria as “illegal,” and insisting that it’s a “false choice” to say that Russia must choose to side with either the US or Syria.
Lavrov, speaking in his opening remarks in the meeting with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson being held Thursday in Moscow, additionally said that recent foreign policy statements by the United States have been “confusing and sometimes openly contradictory.”
Lavrov noted that as not all key positions in the US Department of State have been filled, “it is not easy to quickly receive clarification on current and future issues.”
Lavrov was especially critical of recent statements by Tillerson, who said that Russia has to choose to between the US or Syria, and that to date Russia has failed to uphold the agreements that had been entered into under multiple UN Security Council resolutions.
“More than once, we have reaffirmed our readiness for a constructive and equal dialogue and cooperation based on respect for the legitimate interests of the other,” Lavrov said, adding, “This has been our consistent policy that is fully in keeping with international law and does not depend on current trends or a false choice, such as ‘you are either with us or against us.'”
The Russian Minister, added that recent US statements have been issued “alongside some alarming actions, notably the illegal attack against Syria.”
Lavrov said that Russia considers, “it crucially important to prevent a repetition of such actions in the future.”
Neverthless, Lavrov said that he believes that Tillerson’s visit has “come at the right time,” to frankly and honestly discuss the outlook for cooperation on these issues, “primarily the creation of a broad counterterrorism coalition, as President Vladimir Putin and President Donald Trump have agreed to do.”