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Progress Seen in Tillerson Talks with Lavrov and Putin

April 12, 2017 (EIRNS)—"We understand each other better after today’s talks," was the comment by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov following today’s meeting with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who also met with President Vladimir Putin for two hours. Tillerson described the latter meeting as "productive," and according to several media reports, Putin raised the possibility of restoring the Memorandum for deconfliction, which Russia cancelled following the April 6 U.S. missile attack on the Shayrat airfield.

While the usual suspects in the lying mainstream media insist that the meetings were fraught with tension, "frosty," unfriendly, etc., the statements made by both men, as well as the report on the Putin meeting, suggest something more substantive—moving in the right direction, albeit with small steps. Syria was clearly a major bone of contention: Tillerson insisted that Bashar al Assad was guilty of carrying out chemical weapons attacks against his population, claiming that evidence was "conclusive," and that Assad can have no role in Syria’s future. Lavrov, Sputnik reported, insisted that Washington has provided "no proof" of al Assad’s alleged April 4 chemical weapons attack in Idlib, stressing there must be a "presumption of innocence," until a complete investigation is carried out.

But in public remarks, after pointing out that "there’s a low level of trust between our two countries," Tillerson added that

"the world’s two foremost nuclear powers cannot have this kind of relationship... We need to attempt to put an end to this steady degradation."

Moscow and Washington, he continued, should end "tit-for-tat" strategies which can provoke tensions. Toward this end, they agreed to set up a working group to address solving low-level problems. Lavov expressed the hope that the bilateral presidential commission, which "Obama buried," could be set up.

Lavrov also remarked in their joint press conference that the U.S. and Moscow "are not world’s apart" on many key issues. But, he emphasized, "we need to learn the lessons of the past—otherwise we cannot be successful in the present." He then recounted the history of NATO’s many interventions in its obsession to remove "totalitarian" leaders, citing the case of the former Yugoslavia, Libya, as well as the disaster Obama created in Sudan and South Sudan. "We’ve seen all this before," he said, and it doesn’t end well.

According to Fox News, the two governments have agreed to a serious UN investigation into the April 4 incident in Idlib, and in terms of charges that Russia was "complicit" in the April 4 chemical attack in Idlib, Tillerson said the United States has no reason to believe that Moscow aided or abetted that attack.