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Kremlin Says No Putin-Tillerson Meeting Planned

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

The Kremlin says there are no plans for U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to meet with President Vladimir Putin during his visit to Moscow this week.

"We have not announced any meetings, and so far there is no meeting with Tillerson in the president's schedule," Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters on April 10.

Tillerson, the highest U.S. official to travel to Russia since President Donald Trump took office in January, is due to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on April 12.

His trip comes at a time when Russia and the United States are at odds over an April 7 U.S. missile strike on a Syrian air base, which Trump ordered in response to what Washington says was a chemical weapons attack on Syrian civilians.

Peskov said the U.S. action had shown what he said was Washington's total unwillingness to cooperate on Syria, and that renewed calls for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down would not help to resolve the crisis.

Russia has given Assad crucial backing throughout a six-year-old war that has killed more than 300,000 people.

He said there is no alternative to peace talks that have been held intermittently in Geneva and in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Based on reporting by Reuters and TASS

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