British FM cancels Moscow visit over 'developments in Syria'

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Russia intends to discuss global counter-terrorism with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during his upcoming visit next week, despite strained Russia-US ties, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharov said on Saturday.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (L), Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) and others wait for the start of a meeting at the World Conference Center in Bonn, Germany February 16, 2017.

"I discussed these plans in detail with Secretary Tillerson".

The top USA diplomat, known as a man of few words, had harsh comments for Russian Federation, which Washington blamed for failing to rein in its ally, Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.

In 2013, the Syrian government agreed to surrender its chemical weapons under the supervision of the Russian Federation government.

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Iran's president Hassan Rouhani argued the move meant "all the terrorists in Syria are celebrating this USA attack". "Developments in Syria have changed the situation fundamentally", he said in a statement. "This move by Washington has dealt a serious blow to Russian-U.S. relations, which are already in a poor state".

Lavrov and Tillerson agreed to continue the discussion of the Syrian settlement during a personal meeting next week during US Secretary's of State visit to Moscow.

US President Donald Trump ordered a military attack on a Syrian airbase in Homs province just a day after he accused President Bashar al-Assad forlast week's suspected chemical weapons attack, which killed at least 70 people in the town of Khan Shaykhun in Idlib province.

"Those who have taken over US affairs once claimed they wanted to combat terrorism; however, today Syria's terrorists are happy about [the] USA invasion in Syria and are celebrating it", he said.

With Syria on the agenda when the Group of Seven's foreign ministers meet in Italy on Monday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Johnson's preference to discuss Syria with his G-7 peers was an "absurd" reason to cancel and a sign of erratic policy. "It is necessary to make it absolutely clear that such U.S. military action is unacceptable to us", the spokeswoman added.

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