The Trump administration intends to put "pressure on the political solution" in Syria in the wake of the U.S. missiles strike – including pushing Russia to stop "covering up" for leader Bashar al-Assad, Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley says.
In an interview aired Sunday on "Meet The Press," Haley said "we want to continue to have the backs of our allies, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, make sure that they know we've got their backs."
"You are going to see … pressure on the political solution," she said. "In no way do we look at peace happening in that area with Iranian influence. In no way do we see peace in that area with Russia covering up for Assad. In no way do we see peace in that area with Assad as the head of the Syrian government. And we have to make sure that we're pushing that process."
Haley lashed out in particular at Russia's role in Syria, saying its reaction to the chemical bombing was revealing because "the first priority for them was to cover for Assad."
"Russia's reaction was not, 'Oh, how horrible," or, 'How could they do this to innocent children,' or, 'How awful is that?'" she said. "Their initial reaction was, 'Assad didn't do it. The Syrian government didn't do it.' Why were they that defensive that quick? The idea of the casualties came after."
"What we're not going to allow is for Russia to have Assad's back anymore," she added. "What we are going to say is, 'Look, when you have a violation of the chemical weapons issue, and you've got a violation of Security Council resolutions over and over again, and you vetoed, seven times, to protect this war criminal, we're going to call you out on it. We're going to call you out for the fact that you're covering up.'"
She said President Donald Trump's decision to order the missiles strike "was his finest hour since he's taken office. Because he was very thoughtful about it," adding, "what General [James] Mattis and the military did was just a rock-star performance."
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