Well that was awkward. Very clear differences were evident as Russia's Lavrov and USA's Tillerson parroted each other's national perspectives in their opening statements:
Lavrov began with a statement:
- *LAVROV: PUTIN MET TILLERSON FOR MORE THAN 2 HOURS
- *RUSSIA SEES ATTEMPTS TO INTERFERE W/ U.S.-RUSSIA COOPERATION
- *RUSSIA URGES INVESTIGATION INTO SYRIA CHEMICAL ATTACK: LAVROV
- *RUSSIA SEES U.S. READINESS TO SUPPORT UN SYRIA INQUIRY: LAVROV
- *PUTIN READY TO RESTORE SYRIA AIR ACCORD W/ U.S.: LAVROV
- *RUSSIA, U.S. SHARE COMMON GOAL TO DEFEAT ISLAMIC STATE: LAVROV
- *RUSSIA, U.S. AGREE UKRAINE MINSK ACCORD MUST BE MET: LAVROV
- *RUSSIA, U.S. CONCERNED BY KOREAN PENINSULA SITUATION: LAVROV
- *RUSSIA, U.S. AGREE DIPLOMATIC SOLUTION NEEDED FOR KOREA: LAVROV
- *TILLERSON CALLS MEETING WITH PUTIN `PRODUCTIVE'
- *U.S.-RUSSIA RELATIONS AT A LOW POINT, TILLERSON SAYS
- *POOR TIES BETWEEN U.S. AND RUSSIA CAN'T CONTINUE: TILLERSON
- *U.S., RUSSIA BELIEVE IN UNIFIED, STABLE SYRIA: TILLERSON
- *U.S., RUSSIA AGREE N. KOREA NEEDS TO DENUCLEARIZE: TILLERSON
- *U.S., RUSSIA DIFFER IN BROAD RANGE OF ISSUES: TILLERSON
- *U.S., RUSSIA NEED TO END DEGRADATION IN TIES, TILLERSON SAYS
- *U.S., RUSSIA WILL CONSIDER NEW PROPOSALS ON SYRIA: TILLERSON
- *UKRAINE SITUATION REMAINS OBSTACLE FOR U.S., RUSSIA: TILLERSON
- *U.S. CONFIDENT SYRIA EXECUTED GAS ATTACK, TILLERSON SAYS
- *ASSAD BROUGHT ON TRUMP CHARACTERIZATION HIMSELF: TILLERSON
But it was the press questions that showed the real tension...
“The world’s two primary nuclear powers cannot have this kind of relationship,” Tillerson said in Moscow after hours of meeting with Lavrov and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
- *U.S., RUSSIA DISCUSSED NO CHANGE IN SANCTIONS STATUS: TILLERSON
- *LAVROV: TILLERSON WASN'T THREATENING RUSSIA W/ SANCTIONS TODAY
On Election Interference...
"We've got some difficulties with a majority of those issues," Lavrov says, referring to the U.S. allegation that Syria dropped sarin gas on its own people or interfered with the U.S. election. "No one has shown us any evidence" of election meddling.
- *U.S., RUSSIA TOUCHED ON CYBERSECURITY ISSUES, TILLERSON SAYS
- *INTERFERENCE IN ELECTIONS IS WELL-ESTABLISHED: TILLERSON
- *U.S. MINDFUL OF THAT INTERFERENCE IN ITS ELECTIONS: TILLERSON
- *LAVROV: RUSSIA HAS SEEN NO FACTS ABOUT U.S. ELECTION INTERFENCE
On the "Armada"...
Trump has sent warships near North Korea and threatened to act alone if necessary to prevent it from gaining the capability to strike the U.S. with a nuclear weapon.
- *CARRIER STRIKE GROUP ROUTINELY IN PACIFIC: TILLERSON
- *TILLERSON CAUTIONS AGAINST READING INTO CARRIER GROUP'S COURSE
And then it went to '11' as Lavrov unloaded on America's history of failed interventions...
On Syria and US Intervention...
"The future of Syria has to be determined by the Syrians themselves," says Lavrov. Sounds like Tillerson didn't convince Russia of his viewpoint that Assad must go.
- *U.S., RUSSIA DISCUSSED ASSAD'S FUTURE AT LENGTH: TILLERSON
- *U.S. VIEW IS ASSAD FAMILY REIGN COMING TO END: TILLERSON
- *LAVROV: RUSSIA SAW NO PROOF SYRIA CARRIED OUT CHEMICAL ATTACK
- *RUSSIA BEST PLACED TO HELP ASSAD RECOGNIZE REALITY: TILLERSON
- *LAVROV: NO INSURMOUNTABLE DIFFERENCES ON SYRIA, UKRAINE W/ U.S.
- *LAVROV CONDEMNS 'HYSTERICAL CAMPAIGN' IN U.S. TO BOMB SYRIA
- *RUSSIA WANTS TO FIND TRUTH ON SYRIA CHEMICAL ATTACK: LAVROV
- *U.S. HAS NO FIRM EVIDENCE RUSSIA INVOLVED IN ATTACK: TILLERSON
Beginning around 29:00...
Lavrov quotes Tillerson, despite the fact that they are sitting next to each other. "Rex said that he's a new man and he doesn't want to dig into the past." And then Lavrov starts doing exactly that, recalling the bombing of Serbia and the West's fixation on removing "so-called" dictators.
Lavrov is reciting cases where the U.S. violated international norms, including executing Saddam Hussein despite finding no evidence that he had weapons of mass destruction.
Lavrov has a laundry list of U.S. attempts to remove dictators, from Sudan to Libya to Iraq.
"I recall from the past [America's] fixation on the removal of various foreign authoritarian or totalitarian leaders... we know all too well how this ends..."
And he went on from there!!!