FOREIGN POLICY/RUSSIA/STATE/SYRIA/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/TRUMP PEOPLE/UN/REX TILLERSON/NIKKI HALEY: “Foreign ministers of leading US allies were meeting Monday [4-10-17] amid mixed signals from the Trump administration on the future of Syrian President President Bashar al-Assad.
At a summit in Italy, foreign ministers of the G7 group of industrialized nations were expected to seek clarity from US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on whether the US is now committed to deposing the Assad regime.
At the weekend, US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley suggested regime change in Syria was inevitable in the wake of last week’s chemical weapons attack that was widely blamed on the Assad regime.
Haley told CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ that removing Assad was now a US priority. ‘If you look at his actions, if you look at the situation, it’s going to be hard to see a government that’s peaceful and stable with Assad,’ she said.
But Tillerson was more equivocal, saying that the priority was the defeat of ISIS. Asked on CBS’s ‘Face the Nation’ whether deposing Assad was a priority, he replied: ‘I think the president has been quite clear. First and foremost, we must defeat ISIS.’ He went on to say that the Syrian people would determine the future of Assad.
Senior Trump administration officials stepped up their rhetoric against Russia at the weekend, ahead of a meeting between Tillerson and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow later this week.”
-Ben Westcott, “Trump administration sends mixed signals on Syria ahead of G7 meeting,” CNN Politics, CNN.com, April 10, 2017 8:24am