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The G7-Plus Meeting on Syria Refuses To Back New Sanctions Against Russia

April 11, 2017 (EIRNS)—The meeting on Syria held on the sidelines of the G7 meeting in Lucca, Italy, refused to back the British demand for new sanctions against Russia. This was after a British smoke- and-mirrors campaign to give the appearance that U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was marching in lockstep with British Foreign Secretary Boris "the Boar" Johnson in demanding immediate sanctions against Russia over its support for Syrian President Bashar Assad. The meeting concluded that the issue must not be brought up until a full international investigation into the chemical weapon incident. Russia has called for a full investigation as well.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson made numerous noises about sanctions and the nastiness of the Russians, but when the smoke began to clear and the mirrors were removed on the morning of April 11, it soon became evident that the sanctions had zero support among the other Europeans, especially Germany and Italy.

The meeting, which included the foreign ministers of the G7 countries—chaired this year by Italy—as well as Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Qatar, lasted just one hour. Conference host Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano told the press afterward:

"At the moment there is no consensus on new sanctions as an effective instrument.... There are clearly different opinions.

"We don’t have a consensus on how to use sanctions as an instrument for achievement of goals. Italy has always stressed that sanctions could not be an ultimate goal. That is why we are against their automatic extension."

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson had brought up the issue, Alfano said, "But we came to conclusion that we should not force Russia into a corner." Also confirming that Johnson had brought up the issue, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said the diplomats had not discussed the issue in any depth.

In the 24 hours prior to the meeting, the British smoke-and- mirrors campaign ran hot and heavy, which included a telephone call with President Donald Trump initiated by British Prime Minister Theresa May, who issued a statement saying,

"The Prime Minister and the President agreed that a window of opportunity now exists in which to persuade Russia that its alliance with Assad is no longer in its strategic interest,"

according to the Prime Minister’s official website, and that

"U.S. Secretary of State Tillerson’s visit to Moscow this week provides an opportunity to make progress towards a solution which will deliver a lasting political settlement."

May also gave Trump an earful on the "threat posed by Iran throughout the region." On North Korea, May and Trump

"stressed the importance of the international community, including China, putting pressure on North Korea to constrain the threat it poses,"

according to the statement.

The Times reported that May also pushed for new sanctions against Russians, including military figures.

The White House statement on the May-Trump call did not mention anything that was in the May statement. It was not issued until the morning, Eastern Time on April 11, and included Trump’s call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Trump only expressed thanks for both Germany’s and the United Kingdom’s support for the U.S. strike against Syria.