Tags: Russia | ben cardin | rex tillerson | very clear | russian | leaders

Cardin: Tillerson Must Be 'Very Clear' With Russian Leaders

Image: Cardin: Tillerson Must Be 'Very Clear' With Russian Leaders
(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 10 Apr 2017 02:37 PM

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson must be "very clear" this week while meeting with Russian leaders that the United States will not allow its conduct where Syria is concerned to continue, as well as address several other items of concern, Sen. Ben Cardin said Monday.

"They are complicit in complicit in committing war crimes and the use of chemical weapons," Cardin told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell, pointing out that Russia has failed "to bring the Syrians to the peace talks, to end this civil war."

Tillerson must also be very clear about Russia's engagement in Ukraine and Crimea, and about Russia's meddling in elections in the United States and Europe, said the Maryland Democrat.

"It's going to be the first visit for our secretary of state in Russia, and he's got to be very clear about our concerns," Cardin told Mitchell. "Yes, we want to have a more constructive relationship with Russia. But it must be with a clear understanding that we won't allow that type of conduct to continue."

President Donald Trump did have to take action against Syria following its use of chemical weapons, Cardin agrees, but said he and other lawmakers want to know more about the president's Syria policy. Information is also needed about how Trump's administration plans to bring an end to the civil war and remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power.

"The use of force is always controversial," Cardin said. "There has been no congressional authorization for the use of force against the Assad Syrian government. I think that will be a subject for discussion on Capitol Hill. Bottom line, the president responded to an atrocity committed by the Syrian government. It was a limited response ... if he comes in with a policy, I think we all will want to see that."

There also have been no "concrete results" following last week's meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Cardin said.

"Obviously, the only way to change the equation in North Korea is if China will exert more pressure on North Korea on the commerce side," said Cardin. "We also of course, are concerned about Chinese activities in the South China Sea ... there are major issues between China and the United States, not the least of which are the human rights issues. We haven't heard much at all about what was accomplished at the summit."

Cardin also discussed changes being made at the National Security Council, including removing chief strategist Steve Bannon from its principal's committee and the decision to nominate former Fox News correspondent K.T. McFarland as ambassador to Singapore and remove her from the council.

"That was welcome news, but he's still in the White House," said Cardin of Bannon. "That concerns us who look at him as a symbol against America's strength."

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson must be "very clear" this week while meeting with Russian leaders that the United States will not allow its conduct where Syria is concerned to continue, as well as address several other items of concern, Sen. Ben Cardin said Monday.
ben cardin, rex tillerson, very clear, russian, leaders
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2017-37-10
Monday, 10 Apr 2017 02:37 PM
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