Kremlin: no meeting with Tillerson in Putin’s schedule
There is no meeting with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during his visit to Moscow on April 12 in the Russian president Vladimir Putin's schedule, the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
"We have not announced any meetings, and so far, there is no meeting with Tillerson in the president’s schedule," the Kremlin spokesman said when asked whether Putin plans to receive the US secretary of state.
Peskov recalled that Tillerson is coming to Russia for talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. "If this meeting with Tillerson appears in Putin’s schedule, we will inform you accordingly," TASS cited him as saying.
Earlier reports said that Tillerson will pay a working visit to Moscow on April 11-12 and hold talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. That will be Tillerson’s first visit to Moscow in his new capacity of the US top diplomat.
When the presidential spokesman was asked about Moscow’s potential response to new sanctions, he said that they "really don’t know what it is all about, it is difficult to speak about any response",
"We have not heard any announcements of President Trump regarding the issue or any of his representatives yet," he noted.
The spokesman also declined to comment on the media reports that Russia, Iran and Syria would respond to any new aggression and increase its support for Damascus. "We are not aware about that, we cannot confirm that and we do not know where Reuters got this and where these anonymous sources appeared from," Peskov concluded.
The chief editor of the magazine 'Russia in Global Affairs', Fyodor Lukyanov, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, said that Rex Tillerson's visit to Moscow has become meaningful now, since there is a new crisis in relations between Russia and the United States.
"It is quite natural that Putin may not meet with Tillerson. First of all, he is not obliged to do it. And the US secretary of state is received by the minister, according to the status. Of course, there are cases when a president receives a minister to discuss some essential issues, but now there is no sense to do it, because, there were no suggestions or wishes from the US president," the political scientist said.
According to him, the fact that Tillerson will not meet with Putin will not hurt the Russian-US relations, since they have long been going through a difficult stage. "There was a period of some expectations, but it ended when it became clear that it makes no sense to expect anything, and the relations are at a consistently negative level. The main problem is not that the US is once again taking some sharp action. It is not yet possible to understand their goal-setting. That is, a blow to Syria was a desire to show strength. But what it is unknown what this means," the expert explained.
At the same time, he pointed out that every statement that is being made by the US side refutes the previous one. "Accordingly, the Russian side hopes that Tillerson will explain what Washington wants. We will find out soon whether he will explain it or not. I do not rule out that he will not, because he may not know it," Fyodor Lukyanov concluded.
The head of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations at the Academy of Sciences of Russia, Sergei Oznobishchev, in turn, noted that the fact that there is no meeting with the US Secretary of State in the schedule of the Russian president is a signal that Russia is a world power. "This is another indication that one can not pursue its policy without agreeing on this with us. But meeting with Lavrov still will be held, and there will be a serious talk," the expert said.
He also stressed that the meeting of a president with a foreign minister of another country is a kind of exclusivity that testifies to special relations between the states. "There are no such relations between the Russian Federation and the United States yet. For Trump it was very important to show that he is the decisive leader of a great power, so he struck a blow on the Syrian airfield. And we showed that Russia is not a minor power," the head of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations at RAS noted.
At the same time, he recalled that Russia's policy in recent years has been aimed at reaching an equal level of interaction with the United States. "And the actions in Syria are absolutely precisely aimed at this, since the fight against terrorism outside the borders is noble, but not very effective action in terms of ensuring own security," the expert said.
In addition, he stressed that the most important thing in the upcoming visit of Rex Tillerson to Moscow is the fact that it will take place against the background of a very serious restriction of Russian contacts with the first-second persons of large states. "Therefore, the most important thing is that the visit of the US Secretary of State will take place. It will be great if these contacts can be activated. It is very important," Sergei Oznobishchev summed up.