USA and Russian Federation agree on Syria probe

Assad's first interview after chemical attack

It came shortly after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in Moscow that the US and Russian Federation have reached a "low point" in relations, Xinhua news agency reported.

The U.S. missile strikes early Friday were the first known direct attack by the American government on the Syrian regime since the country's civil war began in 2011.

But despite the growing rifts, some general compromises were discussed.

The interview comes as the US military says a misdirected airstrike this week killed 18 allied fighters battling the Islamic State group in northern Syria.

"The world's two foremost nuclear powers can not have this kind of relationship", Tillerson said.

Still, Tillerson sought to stress the positives from his meetings.

Lavrov had a ready retort: "This is obviously the subject where our views differ".

Russian Federation has repeatedly called for an independent investigation of the incident, which it says resulted from a Syrian government airstrike on a terrorist chemical weapons storehouse. But any expectations of an easy rapport have crashed into reality as the two countries trade escalating accusations over what happened last week in rebel-held territory in northern Syria.

Tillerson reiterated the USA position that Assad must eventually relinquish power in Syria.

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On Friday, the two will join a three-way meeting with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif of Iran, another key ally of the Assad regime. "We need to see Russian Federation choose to side with the civilized world over an Assad government that brutally terrorizes its own people", Haley said. "This is simply counterproductive", ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in remarks aired on the Internet news site TVDozhd.

The U.S. and Russian Federation have sharply disagreed over whether Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces or rebels were responsible for the chemical weapons attack last week that led to U.S. retaliatory cruise missiles. "How do you know that?" he said.

Mr Trump has voiced caution on his relationship with Mr Putin, and said he would wait and see about future ties with Moscow. "I think it's very bad for Russian Federation".

Speaking of the missile strikes he authorized against the base the carried out the chemical attack, Trump later added: "I have absolutely no doubt we did the right thing". "It's very bad for this world", Trump told Fox Business News.

Several senior administration figures have been dogged with accusations of cooperation with Russian Federation when they meddled in the 2016 presidential election, which has led to an FBI investigation and the resignation of national security adviser Michael Flynn.

The coalition said Thursday one its air strikes had accidentally killed 18 members of the Syrian alliance south of Tabqa, a strategically important town on the Euphrates River near Raqa. Given the strained relationship between the Trump administration and intelligence agencies, he's not sure where the evidence came from.

Donald Trump took his most aggressive posture yet against Russian president Vladimir Putin Wednesday, suggesting it was likely that Russia knew about Syria's chemical weapon attack before it was even launched. Russia's alleged meddling in the US presidential election also hovered over the first face-to-face encounter between Putin and a Trump administration Cabinet member.

Photo taken on April 12, 2017, shows Vladimir Safronkov (C, front), Russian deputy ambassador to the United Nations, vetoes a Security Council draft resolution on Chemical Attack in Syria, at the UN headquarters in NY.

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