hello, i'm wolf blitzer. it's 1:00 p.m. in the u.s., 8:00 p.m. in russia. we start with breaking news out of moscow. the secretary of state rex tillerson meeting with the russian president vladimir putin. this meeting has been going on now for almost two hours. we're expecting to hear from tillerson and his russian counterpart at the end of the extended day of talks on russia's involvement in syria. the military strikes ordered by president donald trump among other issues. our senior diplomatic correspondent michelle kosinski is joining us live from moscow.
and ben wedeman is at the border between syria and turkey. michelle, what does it say that president putin has been meeting now apparently for so long with secretary tillerson? >> reporter: well, even the fact that he has agreed to meet with him, that he scheduled this, is kind of part of the theater of the whole trip. the state department officials say they did expect this meeting to happen at some point, but president vladimir putin broke with precedence. he would normally expect and schedule to meet with any u.s. secretary of state. but this time he kind of strung the state department along for days. they couldn't even put it on the schedule definitively. it came up without warning, even though tillerson had some time blocked out. the traveling u.s. press was kept back at a separate location. so it's likely that the only pictures or information that comes out of this is going to come from the kremlin, that we'll hear from this press conference.
so we know that the state department thought that this would happen. that putin would want to meet with tillerson. but this is, as one official told me, classic kremlin playbook. that they wanted to show themselves in a position of power here. add some drama and mystery to it. the fact that it's a very long meeting shows that there is discussion going on. i think the message would have been very clear if this meeting hadn't happened. it seems like the kremlin wanted to put that notion out there, that this wasn't just a done deal, that the meeting would occur. now that it has, we're just going to have to see, if any opening to progress can come of this, which we'll hear from the foreign minister and from secretary tillerson. but when you listen to what putin himself was saying earlier in an interview, i mean, more of that strong rhetoric that we have heard over the past couple of days. it is really coming from both sides. you have two deeply entrenched
positions here. it's difficult at this point to imagine where that opening lay, but always there is some opportunity for cooperation. because the u.s. and russia have been cooperating, even through this tension on a number of issues. and i guess that is where they are going to have to try to find, you know, some shred of that foundation that was there before to attempt to move forward, wolf. >> yeah, today's meeting a lot different than the meeting they had four years ago when tillerson was still a ceo of exxon mobil,was invited to moscow to receive a friendship prize from the russian government with putin at that time. today's meeting, obviously, a lot different. ben, you're there along the border with syria, the russian president putin, he claimed the chemical attack against the civilian last week was staged. that was the word he used, staged, to make it look like it was carried out by the syrian air force. russia is once again calling for a full international
investigation. what are the chances of the conclusive investigation actually being carried out, given the fighting that is going on? >> reporter: well, there is a preside president, wolf. after the 21st of march attack, that attack left hundreds of people dead. the united nations did conduct an investigation. it was an area where there was active fighting, but they managed to have a daily five-hour cease-fire to allow the u.n. inspectors to do their job. now, they were able to interview victims, take blood and urine from the affected. and they did come out with a report. it concluded that saran gas was used in that instance, but what is significant is that the report did not lay any blame. it just laid out the scientific facts. and, in fact, the report
concluded with the statement that the result leaves us with the deepest concern. in the end, blame was never e laid. many people did conclude from the evidence provided that, for instance, it was a surface-to-surface missile that delivered the particular gas. that missile was only in the possession of the syrian military. but as i said, the u.n. did not actually say who was behind the attack. and in other instances where they did investigate or try to investigate chemical attacks, they were provided with data information by a russian investigative team. so it's unlikely that any u.n. team or investigation would provide this sort of smoking gun that i think everybody wants to see. wolf? >> let's not forget, yesterday the defense secretary of the united states said that there was absolutely no doubt, no doubt at all that the syrian
regime of bashar al assad was responsible for that chemical weapons attack. ben wedeman on the turkish very seesh seesh syrian border. thank you. michelle kosinski as well in moscow, thank you. we have heard that the press conference has wrapped up. and we are going to be hearing from the russian foreign minister of sergey lavrov and rex tillerson soon. and we have heard that things have degraded at the military level. we'll bring in christian am amanpour. what is your first impression, christian, of president putin and of the meetings today going on in russia with the secretary of state of the united states, rex tillerson? >> reporter: wolf, it's been described as a case of geopolitical whiplash. people are looking on and simply can't believe in the space of a week what was really a cozying
up atmosphere between the trump atmosphere and the kremlin has turned into this something completely and utterly different. a lot of it from the kremlin's perspective is for public consumption. and they have kind of set themselves up because the media in russia right now is reported as being very, very anti-trump administration since the strikes in real eye ftaliation for the attack. but what matters is two things, whether they can get military deflection back from russia, but the secretary of state has gone over there to try to get vladimir putin to distance himself, disassociate himself, stop playing assad's lawyer and assad's military enforcer. and that is what they are trying to do. so all the other talk, all the other thee attics, all the rest of it will amount to a hill of beans if the united states cannot get russia to disassociate itself from assad and to stop assad in the most egregious actions that it
continues to take. >> president trump, christian, summed up his view of the continuing relationship between russia and the syrian president bashar al assad this way. i want you to listen to what the u.s. president said. >> frankly, putin is backing a person that's truly an evil person. and i think it's very bad for russia. i think it's very bad for mankind. it's very bad for this world. as you see the same kids, no arms, no legs, no face. this is an animal. >> so christian, does this kind of talk from president trump influence president trump putin at all, especially given that he denies that the syrian regime was responsible for the chemical weapons attack? >> reporter: look, i think we have to be very clear that the game of denying it is simply not relevant and it's not credible. because there's been president for the syrian regime, that the only one that is have the gas and the only ones with the
delivery mechanism to do that kind of attack. so that is just a russian/kremlin/assad kind of thing meant to confiscate and distract from what is going on. but i think what president trump just said there is similar in more fluid language to what the obama administration was saying. how can a leader, a security council, permanent member, a big power actually put its support toward somebody who is conducting the kind of war crimes that president assad is? they are trying to shame him into distancing himself. it did not work under the obama administration. and it's not clear at all whether that rhetoric will work under the trump administration. so depending on who you are talking to, it will go much harder after president putin. not just on assad, but on what he's doing in ukraine and how to stabilize nato and the partners
in the alliance. what he's doing in the cyber war and hacking sphere, not just hacking into the u.s. democratic process. but there what toss be a real sense of really having a policy towards trying to stop president putin and making it too expensive for him to keep that kind of policy going. >> you know, i remember, christian, when you and i were in moscow at the end of 1991, when the papers were signed ending the soviet union, the collapse of the soviet union. and there were such great hope at that time, the cold war was over, things were about to move in a new direction. there would be good relations between the united states and russia own the other former republics of the soviet union. it hasn't exactly worked out all that great. some of the republics, obviously, much better, but are the u.s. and russia now in a new cold war? >> well, look, wolf, you were there, we were all there, actually, relations were much, much better for a long, long time. they started going south when president putin succeeded
president boris yeltsin. and they started going south, most notably, over the iraq war. when putin got very angry with president bush about the iraq war and things startsed to get rocky then. and then in the obama administration they went south over the nato strikes on libya. so that is kind of the background. then putin blames the united states, particularly hillary clinton, for the demonstrations and protests against his third election back in 2012. so that is sort of the background. and, indeed, they blame the united states for what happened in ukraine. so is there an official cold war? no. but is there a very, very bad and dysfunctional relationship between two very important countries? yes.kryesterdaincredibly hard t see how to get this back on track. the president of russia is seen as a super power, but it's hard
to get back to the influence of notion. once the u.s. says, okay, you win, you get all of eastern europe. you get all the stuff that you want in your backyard. and we won't have anything to do with you. so go ahead and keep crimea and eastern ukraine and continue to mess around in that area. and by the way, you want a foothold for the first time for 40 years in the middle east? okay, keep syria. that's the problem right now. that it is this sort of war for influence that moscow under president putin thinks that is rightly his. >> christian amanpour, thank you very, very much. we're waiting for the secretary of state rex tillerson and the russian foreign minister sergey lavrov to speak any time. the meeting between tillerson and putin just wrapped up. we're going to have live coverage of that joint news conference, that's coming up right here on cnn. also coming up, why a phone call between president trump and china's president might signal a
new direction in u.s./china relations. and how to deal with north korea's provocations. plus, lawmakers from both parties have reviewed classified intelligence documents say they contradict surveillance claims made by the house intelligence committee chairman congressman devin nunes and president trump. the cnn exclusive report, that's coming up. only tylenol® rapid release gels have laser drilled holes. they release medicine fast,
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rex tillerson and sergey f lavrov are going to be holding a press conference any time. stand by for that. in the meantime, china's president xi jinping spoke to donald trump by phone last night. jinping's government is calling for a peaceful solution to the tensions with north korea. the call comes as the united states aircraft carrier strike group makes its way towards the korean peninsula. cnn's will ripley is joining us from pyongyang with details. will? >> reporter: tensions here on the korean peninsula are at the highest level in years. but now there are indications the tide may be turning when it comes to china's willingness to cooperate with the united states
on the north korean nuclear threat. president trump tweeting this morning, had a very good call last night with the president of china concerning the menace of north korea. and for the first time, the chinese government is acknowledging direct discussions about north korea between chinese president xi jinping and president trump. it's the first time that china has acknowledged those discussions since the meeting last week at mar-a-lago between the two presidents. also significant, an editorial in the state-run global "times" in china saying many in the chinese republic are fed up with the tension and encouraging their government to enforce stronger sanctions against pyongyang and kim jong-un to go forward with the nuclear tests that the united states believe could happen at any moment. all this unfolding as the "uss carl vinson" moves closer.
60 airplanes, submarines and a 90,000-ton carrier which pyongyang sees as a threat if provoked by the united states. also word that japanese warships may join the strike group, which could be very aggravated for the north koreans, given the fact that japan was there for many years. so far kim jong-un has not conducted a nuclear test. what he'll do moving forward given the increased pressure from china is a big unknown right now. wolf? >> will, thank you. will ripley in pyongyang, north korea. another news, an exclusive report only found here on cnn. republican and democratic lawmakers have now reviewed classified intelligence reports first brought to light by a house intelligence committee devin nunes. and so far they have found no evidence that obama administration officials did anything unusual or illegal involving alleged surveillance claims. this according to sources in
both parties. our senior congressional reporter will break down the story for cnn and is joining us live from capitol hill. this assessment from lawmakers directly contradicts congressman nunes and president trump. >> reporter: that's right, wolf. devin nunes coming out surprisingly last month and saying he had reviewed private information that suggests how trump team communications were picked up incidentally and shown in these intelligence reports. and raising concerns that some of the identities of u.s. individuals were unmasked, unfairly and improperly. and devin nunes is alarming. but the staff has gotten a chance to review the classified documents. and a number of them tell both me and our colleague jim shchiuo
that there was some alarming there. just last month devin nunes was alarming about this, as was president trump. take a listen. >> what i have read bothers me. i think it should bother the president himself and his team. because i think some of it seems to be inappropriate. >> it's such a big story. and i'm sure it will continue forward. what they did is horrible. >> reporter: one of the things president trump said is he believes susan rice, a former obama national security adviser, broke the law by her request to understand which individuals were having these communications with foreign officials. but the sources we talked to on both sides of the aisle have yet to see the information, wolf, that president trump is talking about. they have seen the information devin nunes saw and it does not jut back up what president trump has seen so far. the question is what has president trump referred to. what evidence is he looking at?
that's something he has not disclosed and neither has the white house. >> you're also following new report on the former trump campaign adviser carter page. what can you tell us about that. >> reporter: we're learning that carter page had been the subject of a warrant from the fbi, a fisa warrant, to monitor his communications, starting last summer. this confirmation coming after james comey himself, the fbi director, announcing last month that this investigation into russia connections with trump officials had begun in july of 2016. now, "the washington post" is reporting that there is a belief that among the fbi, trying to determine whether or not page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, in something that had come of interest to investigators, was a contact that mr. page had with a russian
intelligence operative in july of 2013. now, i had a chance to connect with carter page last night, and he's pushing back rather aggressively, wolf. he says he wants a chance to clear his name before the house and senate intelligence committee. he said, this shows, quote, how low the clinton/obama regime went to destroy our democracy. and going on to say it will be interesting to see what comes out when the unjustified basis for those fisa requests are more fully disclosed over time. and wolf, i can tell you, he's someone that the house and senate intelligence committee, they do want to speak with as part of this investigation. it probably will not happen right away as they are looking into other aspects of the russia hacking of the elections, but when they do try to look into the connections that apparently occurred between some russian officials or trump officials, carter page will be at the top of the list as part of the private interviews.
and even carter page saying to me earlier, he's willing to go public. we'll see what he says later talking to jake tapper. carter page will be speaking with jake later today on "the lead." his direct response to all the reports now that he was monitored as part of an investigation into possible links with russia. that's coming up at 4:00 p.m. eastern on "the lead" on cnn. coming up, rex tillerson will be speaking shortly in moscow with the russian foreign minister sergey lavrov. you're looking at live pictures coming in from moscow. the two, they just wrapped up a nearly two-hour-long meeting with the russian president vladimir putin in moscow. we're going to have live coverage of all of this, that's coming up. all finished.
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here are live pictures from moscow as we standby for the news conference with rex tillerson there with the russian foreign minister sergey lavrov. we'll have live coverage as soon as it begins. they just wrapped up a meeting with the russian president, vladimir putin. just a little while ago, a meeting that took place as tensions are seriously straining relations with moscow. we'll bring in the panel for insight, our chief international correspondent christian amanpour is joining us once again from new york. we have our cnn military analyst, retired air force lieutenant colonel rick francona with us. the cnn global affairs correspondent alyse and cnn correspondent dana bash. how would you describe the u.s./russia relationship so early in the new trump administration? it was not supposed to be like
this. >> right. it is scrambled and tense. it wasn't supposed to be like this, but as we wait for the secretary of state, what i'm thinking about and remembering about, it wasn't that long ago that the president fell over and republicans were reluctant to confirm rex tillerson as secretary of state because they were concerned he was too cozy with vladimir putin and other russian leaders. and that's because he did deals with them when he was ceo of exxon. now fast forward to not even 100 days into the administration, he's on his first trip to that very country meeting with the very leader. and it's almost like the notion that he's too close with the russians is ancient history because it happens all the time with presidents. events that happen to them as opposed to events they tried to create a relationship they tried to create. and i think, in some ways, it is
very unclear what they are going to say and how they are going to spin very deep divide over the chemical weapons and whether or not the russians were behind it and so forth. if you take a look at the big picture, it is going to be fascinating to see how they relate to one another, given the backdrop of concern that he was too close with the russians. >> christian, the russian foreign minister lavrov criticized the mixed messages coming from the united states on syria. lavrov said this, and i'll read it to you. he said, i will be frank, that we had a lot of questions regarding a lot of very ambiguous as well as contradictory ideas coming from washington. christian, what do you make of that? >> reporter: look, we'll take sergey lavrov at his word and that he's puzzled by mixed messages. he's also one of the most accomplished diplomats many the world. and knows exactly what their end
is. the question for the united states is, what is the actual policy with russia? because this, to be frank, is over the russia chemical attack. and the real issue is that it is over the entire relationship between the united states and its western allies and russia itself. so if you look at what former cia acting director mike morrell wrote in "the new york times," this requires, yes, the visit of secretary state tillerson to moscow. yes, of course, he was going to get a meeting with president putin who held out of place for him in his schedule. and finally said, yes, we'll do it. and yes, there will be a press conference. but the president himself, president trump, is being advised by mike morrell and others, to actually make an address to the american people, spell out clearly what is in the u.s. national interest, what the u.s. will actually call, you know, what it will accept and where it's red lines for lack of a better word are in terms of provocation from russia, and it is assumed right now from people
who know much better than i do the relationship between russia and the u.s., have a vladimir putin is testing president trump like he's tested every leader so far. wants to see how far he can push it. and until the president comes out and makes an absolute cat goric statement on what is america's national interest, vis-a-vis russia, then president putin has the opportunity to pull the elastic band and move a little here and there and keeping everybody, you know, sort of off balance, which he's very, very good at. >> there are rising tensions over syria between the u.s. and syria. the senior trump administration official said we don't want escalation, so how fine of a line is there between escalation and trying to maintain some sort of relationship? >> well, it's a very fine line. and certainly the strike last week, you know, the russians see that as an escalation. and so i think when secretary tillerson is going to moscow, he
doesn't need to use his words. you've heard this week about the mixed messages, nikki haley, the ambassador to the u.n. is talking a lot tougher, and secretary tillerson is being more nuanced because he wants to leave the room for russia to walk in and act more cooperatively. he doesn't need to use escalating words. the strike he has in his pocket when he goes is a little more leverage than secretary of state john kerry had had all this time. and so it's a lot of the allies that think this was a credible use of american might. because now you have u.s. diplomacy backed by force. and it is true as christian said, it doesn't look like -- president putin is trying to test president trump, but he's continuing to say i'm not going to publicize what i do. i'm going to show what my red lines are when i act when
someone violates them. and that's a smarter way of working with president putin because it keeps them going, it keeps them on their toes. and i don't think they want to test president trump in a way, they don't really know. >> the russian foreign minister and rex tillerson are heading over to the microphone. i assume the russian foreign minister will open. >> this is the press conference of the foreign ministers of russia and the united states. i would like to invite our guests to take their seats. yes, there are places here. come on in. >> translator: good evening. we have had talks with the
secretary of state, rex tillerson. right now we have had a long conversation with president vladimir putin of russia. it has lasted for more than two hours. the negotiations have proved to be substantial and very frank. they have comprised the whole gamete of issues of importance of our by lateral relations as well as the election. we have taken the fact of our relations as well as the international ones. there are certain issues that have been time bombs of the previous administration, the obama administration, we are realistic and understand the need to overcome these obstacles
we have to make efforts. and we seek to do that. and we understand that our -- we present our cooperation in the attempt to escalate in the confrontation, but we do not believe that this is an astute approach. we do understand that if moscow/washington cooperate, this is for the benefit, not just for our nation, but for the sake of the whole world. we have reaffirmed that we both seek to find a compromise. this issue has been raised by our presidents and the course of their telephone conversation, including the telephone conversation an april 4th in the night when president trump
called president putin to express condolences for the attacks that happened and the context of fighting international terror rich. we have talked about syria and touched upon the incident that took place after -- >> translator: we are paying attention to syria and discussing the incident of the 4th of april, the idlib incident, the place where chemical substances were used and then they are subsequent to u.s. missile strikes on the 7th of april. we, as you know, have put our point of view on a number of points. and we have insisted that this,
today, that we have a very thorough investigation of all that, the russian federation has said that what we want to do is to apply to the opcw in haag that they have the full investigation and that we have drawn attention to the letter, which has been sent to syria and the u.n. about the ban on well call weap chemical weapons to make sure they pay attention to the investigators to carry out the impartial, unbiased investigation in idlib and at the airfield, which under -- mr. tillerson supports this kind of investigation. and he said that the powers will
be taken immediately in order to do that. we shall attempt in the security council to approve a memorandum, which will not be so much about the investigation as to try and fix and identify the culprit. so we didn't want to impose any kind of line on anyone, but we want an honest investigation. we also very thoroughly discussed the situation with regard to our air forces with the u.s.-led coalition and the russian forces. we talked about the deconfliction memorandum during the operations in syria. you know that this was halted.
but president putin confirmed our determination to put it on track again, confirming that the main aim, of course, is between these forces of the coalition and the russian forces is to combat al-nusra and others like isil. the publicized intention of america and russia -- we trust that countries in the region should not repeat this kind of incident, particularly the countries of the mideast. we confirmed once again the
overall determination to route isil, that remains in force between us and the war today confirmed fully. apart from fighting terrorism in syria and the region in general, we have a common interest to make sure that we get a political settlement of this very acute crisis in syria, russia, over the past years, has tried to get a compromise, has deployed many efforts in order to do so, and make sure that many of the players inside syria and outside get them around the negotiating table in the context of the u.n. and we confirmed that the corporations would be to try and process this.
we in geneva with our american colleagues, we have the platform where the u.s. took part as observers. we have to help the international organization to try to find approaches to make sure that the israel/palestine issue or conflict is looked at and yemen as well. and i think that our joint efforts will not be useless in that respect. we looked at the problem of afghanistan, as you know, in the last couple of years. we have been meeting in various formats, which were aimed at external assistance to
afghanistan. and one of the attempts which we have undertook will culminate on the 14th in moscow. this is a moscow format with participation of afghanistan and its neighbors, including asian countries. the u.s. representative will also be there. we have also touched upon the crisis in ukraine. we have a single common position. and that is that the 2015 minsk agreement should be fulfilled. and we remembered how the previous administration of the u.s. had established a two-way channel of communication between moscow and washington. and we have also worked, of course, within the format of the normandy arrangement. and we undertook to continue
contacts in that format in order to find practical ways forward to fulfill the minsk agreement. so we greet and applaud such efforts. of course, we are fully in favor of them. this russia and the u.s., particularly are committed to trying to find solutions to problems. we will try to avoid confrontation in kia, the korean peninsula, and to start a negotiation process in order to settle the question of stabilizing the korean peninsula through political and diplomatic efforts.
we are particularly concerned, of course, about the regional and global military political build-up. we need negotiations about strategic reductions, where we do have agreements between our two countries where there has been a pause in this process for objective reasons. and that caused by the white house, and we believe that it is very important to continue to work on this arms reduction and work very business-like, in a business-like way efficiently. and we agreed on that. we mentioned the situation with regard to our economic
relations. and we sympathize with american business to add verse the negative process at the moment and increase contacts for subjective reasons that this has happened. we fully support the business communities in both countries. and we have the director contacts that can be established on both sides. one more agreement, we agreed to nominate a special representative from the mfa and the state department so that without too much emotion, we could look together at the irritants, which have dubbed our relations over the last couple
of years. particularly under the administration of president obama. i think that if both sides apply a pragmatic approach, this will yield results and it will go to make our relations much more healthy. we understand that in our relations, there is a certain discomfo discomfort. of course, that is associated with the progress of the virtual world and cyber science. some people are abusing these possibilities provided by modern technology and trying to use them for political ends. and i think both the u.s. and russia in those both countries,
there are a number of insensible, reasonable people that can weed out the ground. and in the interests of our peoples, we can overcome this problem. this, at least, is my sensation from the talks. my feeling, despite all of the rather deep-rooted problems and some which have been artificially created, i think there is a great potential for work in the future. we have an open and frank dialogue with the u.s. on many issues. and we have to make sure that that works. and it is directed at the reciprocal interest of both countries. we, obviously, hope that today's meetings, the many hours we spent with rex tillerson together and together with the president of the russian
federation, were not a after what we've done today and i hope very much that these contacts will be continued directly between us and also through those people who cooperate and other agencies of the u.s. and the government of the russian federation. thank you. >> good evening. we just came from a productive meeting, as you heard foreign minister lavrov mention, of about two hours with president putin. we frankly discussed the state of the u.s./russian relations. i expressed that the current state is at a low point. there is a low level of trust between our two countries. the world's two foremost nuclear powers cannot have this kind of
relationship. we further discussed approaches to improving our channels of communication. we had a lengthy exchange of views regarding the situation in syria and shared perspectives on possible ways forward. earlier today, foreign minister lavrov and i had a lengthy conversation about issues that require immediate attention and issues that require longer-term attention. we understand that improvement in the long-term relationship will be required if we are to make progress on issues where we have different views. we spoke extensively about syria and in some areas we share a common view. spe specifically, we both agree we want to deny a safe haven for terrorists who want to attack both of our countries. we agree that north korea has to be denuclearized.
we agree there needs to be more senior level communication between our two countries, both at a diplomatic and military level. but there is a broad range of other issues in which we have differences. some have global implications with long-term requirements and others are understood to be bilateral. over the course of the past two years, a number of resciprocal action has been taken. we have agreed to establish a working group to address smaller issues and make progress towards stabilizing the relationship so that we can then address the more serious problems. foreign minister lavrov and i
agreed we would consider further proposals made about the way forward in syria, including consulting with our allies and coalition members. and we will continue discussions about how to find a solution to the syrian conflict. we also discussed current threats posed by the north korea's regime of their nuclear program and the constructive role russia can play to encourage the north korean regime to change its course so we can create conditions for talks regarding the future. we considered the importance of the accord. russia can make progress and implementation by de-escalating violence and withdraw separatist armed forces. until full progress is made, the situation in ukraine will remain an obstacle to improvement in
relations between the u.s. and russia. i thank the foreign minister for productive round of discussions and look forward to future conversations. thank you. >> translator: now we will go over to questions on channel 24. >> my first question is to mr. tillerson. we have heard from washington not any contradictory but also aggressive statements. i mean, mr. trump who has called assad an animal and from the white house sean spicer who has said that hitler hadn't used chemical weapons. how does that actually fit in with the american diplomacy and when will the rhetoric change?
>>. >> well, i think the perspective from the united states supported by the facts that we have are conclusive. that the recent chemical weapons attack carried out in syria was planned. it was directed and executed by syrian regime forces and we're quite confidant of that. this is just the latest in the series in the use of chemical weapons by the assad regime notwithstanding their use on more than 50 occasions of chlorine bombs, cluster bombs and other types of weapons that are intended to maim and kill in the most horrific ways. so i think the characterization is one that president assad has brought upon himself. >> translator: well, i'd just like to add two words. it is better to be obvious that
the subject -- this subject is one that we divert and as much as russia is insisting on an investigation together with the united states in 2014 were the elimination of chemical weapons in syria and the deadlines were inshrined in conventions which belong to the united nations and there are reports about chemical weapons here which record progress in eliminating all of the stockpiles of chemical weapons and also record facts to the effect that some of these are being controlled by extremists. this process has not stopped in
don't ma damascus and we're putting as much pressure on the syrian government in this respect and we're committed to completing this work and we will go to the end. we will finish it off. there is a mission to establish the facts by the opcw, a joint mechanism for -- between the opcw and the u.n. and we have a number of questions because some of the communications which are going to the syrian government are based on distance
information and i don't want to completely discredit the white helmets but this is a problem and also the quality of testament which exists. with regard to the use of chemicals in the territory controlled by the opposition, on numerous occasions the syrian government and the syrian servicemen have given us absolute evidence about the use of chemical weapons. this was not some kind of distant information but information from the site. i'd also like to say -- and i don't want to accuse anybody
here or protect anyone -- we insist on an objective investigation of what happened on the 4th of april. incidentally, this actually coincided with the complication of a meeting in brussels on the syrian situation. many participants at that meeting in the afternoon after the idlib crisis started very actively and loudly proclaiming that the entire conference assured that this question should have been about the overall settlement of syria. so the media hysteria, which was unleashed as a result of this
incident, we have to make sure that we are impartial now in investigating this whole business by sending international expert groups to decide and to that particular place where the chemicals were used and, of course, the airfield which was used for sending out aircraft with chemical substances. we have seen no confirmation that that was the case the tv images showed that there were people on the airfield immediately after the strike and there was absolutely no evidence of -- which would allow us to talk about the use