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Russian diplomat says Tillerson’s statement on Syria is not 'an ultimatum'

April 11, 22:06 UTC+3 MOSCOW

"I don’t think it is an ultimatum. I see it as a political statement, as a show of muscle before the talks," the Russian Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman said

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Russian Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

Russian Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

MOSCOW, April 11. /TASS/. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s statement on Syria made ahead of his first visit to Russia is not seen as an ultimatum, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Tuesday.

"I don’t think it is an ultimatum. I see it as a political statement, as a show of muscle before the talks. It quite fits into Washington’s approaches, under many administrations, I think, to the beginning of a negotiating process," she said in an interview with the Vesti FM radio station.

In her words, to demonstrate "its might" the United States should better demonstrate "an example of peace settlement of at least one crisis."

Tillerson arrived in Russia earlier on Tuesday. It is expected that the central topic of his talks in Moscow with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will be the Syrian crisis. In his words, Russia should make its choice between solidarity with the democratic nations of the West and support of Syrian President Bashar Assad. "We want to relieve the suffering of the Syrian people," he told reporters in Lucca, Italy, after a meeting with the G7 foreign ministers where ways of resolving the Syrian crisis were discussed. "Russia can be a part of that future and play an important role. Or Russia can maintain its alliance with this group, which we believe is not going to serve Russia's interests longer term.".

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