Well, after a weekend in which the media picked up on a perceptible difference between the Assad line being pushed by UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and the story being pitched by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the latter was out Tuesday trying to be a little more explicit ahead of a rumored meeting with Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
“It’s clear the Assad family reign is coming to an end,” Tillerson told reporters in Lucca, Italy. Here are the other notable soundbites:
- Says the U.S. hopes Bashar al-Assad won’t be part of Syria’s future.
- Chemical-weapons attack can’t be allowed again
- Russia has allied itself with an unreliable partner
Russia, as the guarantor of a Syria free of chemical weapons, would locate, secure, and destroy all such armaments in Syria. Stockpiles and continued use, demonstrate that Russia has failed in its responsibility to deliver on its 2013 commitment
It is unclear whether Russia failed to take this obligation seriously or Russia has been simply incompetent in its ability to deliver on its end of that agreement.
I’m not sure that’s how you want to set things up when you’re on your way to Moscow.
Speaking of which (and as noted above) Putin will meet Tillerson on Wednesday, RBC reports, citing one person close to Russia’s Foreign Ministry and one person familiar with plans for visit (so basically, two unnamed sources).
The Kremlin’s Dmitry Peskov declined to confirm the meeting.
And while all of this might sound rather ominous, it’s worth noting that Rex is a friend-o-Putin – quite literally…