Tillerson leaves press pool behind to meet Putin

Putin suggested on Monday that forces within Syria were plotting more chemical attacks, including near Damascus, that they meant to pin on the Syrian regime.

Lavrov says Russian Federation thinks there is no need for a U.N. Security Council resolution on the attack until the U.N. chemical weapons watchdog has completed an objective probe.

As Tillerson sat down for talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday, a senior Russian official assailed the "primitiveness and loutishness" of USA rhetoric, part of a volley of statements that appeared timed to maximise the awkwardness during the first visit to Moscow by a member of Trump's cabinet.

Diplomats said that Russian Federation has put forward a rival draft resolution that expresses concern at last week's gas attack and condemns the US strike on Syria.

On the alleged attack, and issues like Russian intervention in Ukraine and alleged interference in the U.S. election, the viewpoints of Moscow and Washington remained far apart. Lavrov added: "Yesterday, we discussed in detail (with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson) the need to step up Russian-American efforts towards mobilizing the worldwide community to fight terrorism, and reminded him that US actions like the strikes against Syria on April 7 are at variance with this task".

Assad had agreed to turn in his entire chemical weapons inventory in 2013 when the USA threatened military action after hundreds were killed in a deadly chemical attack on opposition-held suburbs of Damascus.

"We discussed Assad today", said Lavrov.

Mr Trump claimed Mr Putin was backing a "person that's truly an evil person".

"The level of trust at the working level, especially at the military level, has not become better but most likely has degraded", Putin said in an interview broadcast Wednesday by state television channel Mir.

"We have to see common threats, they are apparent", he said.

The toxic gas attack on April 4 prompted the United States to launch missile strikes on a Syrian air base and widened a rift between the United States and Russian Federation.

UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura speaks during a news conference after addressing the U.N. Security Council 's meeting on Syria, Wednesday April 12, 2017 at U.N. headquarters.

Tillerson, who arrived on Tuesday on his first visit to Russia since he was named to lead the U.S. State Department, is meeting for talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Trump envoy Tillerson's talks with Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov have been haunted by the incident that saw the USA launch punitive strike against Assad's forces.

"Despite the quantity of existing problems. there are considerable prospects for joint work", Lavrov said, after he took Tillerson for private talks with Putin.

Of course, we have put forth this position to our American colleagues before, and this is well known in Washington and to you, Mr Tillerson. Russian Federation says rebels dispersed whatever chemical agent was found, which the Trump administration calls a disinformation campaign.

The Syrian people "have suffered six years of ever-escalating barbarity, over six years of failed ceasefires, and over the years, Russian Federation has held us ransom for the Assad regime".

Trump said US relations with Russian Federation were not going well.

"Within the framework of the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Nations, we will insist on the immediate dispatch of inspectors both to the site of the incident and the airbase where our Western colleagues claim missiles were loaded with chemical substances", Lavrov said.

While the most immediate U.S. Trump said it was "certainly possible" though "probably unlikely".

Trump says Syrian President Bashar Assad is "an animal". Washington says it has no doubt about Assad's responsibility.

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