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Kremlin: Tillerson Meeting 'Not in Putin's Diary'

Snub believed to be result of Syria tensions
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2017 6:07 AM CDT

(Newser) – Secretary of State Rex Tillerson travels to Russia Tuesday—but, unlike when he visited Moscow as CEO of ExxonMobil, he will not be meeting Vladimir Putin. A Putin spokesman said Monday that they have not announced "any such meetings and right now there is no meeting with Tillerson in the president's diary," Reuters reports. John Kerry, Tillerson's predecessor, often met with Putin and the snub of Tillerson is believed to be the result of Russian anger over the US strike on a Syrian airbase last week.

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Tillerson—who was awarded Russia's Order of Friendship medal on one of the several occasions he met Putin in his role at Exxon—will fly to Russia from Italy, where he met Monday with foreign ministers from other G7 nations, CNN reports. Britain's Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, who called off his own trip to Moscow over Syria tensions, said Monday that the G7 wants to give "the clearest possible mandate" in talks with Russia over Syria's future. The AP reports that as he left Italy Tuesday, Tillerson said Russia has the choice of helping the US and other countries end suffering in Syria, or siding with Iran, Hezbollah, and the Assad regime, which the US believes "is not going to serve Russia's interests longer term." (Read more Rex Tillerson stories.)

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