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U.S. 'ready to help bring' Syria conflict to end: Haley

Martine Gestime 32 wipes her tears during an interview in Port-au-Prince Haiti. Gestime said she was raped by a Brazilian peacekeeper in 2008 and became pregnant with her son Ashford. Unable to afford school for him she Putin meets Tillerson as tensions rise over Syria
Eleena Tovar | 20 Abril, 2017, 13:51

After seeing images of dying children in the chemical attack, President Donald Trump said he decided a military response was necessary.

The agenda for the meeting wasn't announced.

Assad has denied his government was behind last week's chemical weapons attack that killed more than 80 people.

One of the main foreign policy goals set out by President Trump after his election in November was a normalization of US-Russia relations.

The meeting was steeped in geopolitical intrigue, with neither country saying ahead of time if it would take place or not.

Russian Federation has criticized previous investigations carried out by the OPCW and the United Nations which blamed the Syrian government for at least three chemical weapons attacks without visiting the sites.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson battled to overcome differences with his Russian counterpart on Wednesday.

Wayne White, former deputy director of the State Department's Middle East intelligence office, told Xinhua that the idea of Washington and Moscow reaching a consensus is highly unlikely. "No one showed us anything, no one said anything, although we repeatedly asked to produce the details on which these unfounded accusations lie".

It was an ominous start to Tillerson's visit.

"The world's two foremost nuclear powers can not have this kind of relationship", he said.

As both sides sought to find some common ground Mr Tillerson said there was a "low level of trust" between the USA and Russian Federation and pledged to increase communication between Washington and Moscow.

"It's fabrication. We don't have an arsenal, we're not going to use it". "We hope that the USA president will become aware of that analysis", he said Thursday.

"In facing our common challenges, we must also ensure that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members meet their financial obligations and pay what they owe", he said.

The biggest wedge in the relationship is Russia's continued support for Syrian leader Bashar Al-Assad.

A senior Russian diplomat says Moscow believes that an global probe into last week's chemical attack in Syria should include experts from Brazil, India, Iran and other nations.

"Frankly, Putin is backing a person that's truly an evil person", Trump said, referring to Assad. "I would like to think that they didn't know, but certainly they could have. I think it's very bad for mankind".

Graham told reporters on Friday that he was wanted to amend sanctions legislation to "add supporting Assad - the use of weapons of mass destruction [and] enabling him to do that - as a reason he should be sanctioning Putin". Russian Federation says rebels were responsible for whatever chemical agent was used, which the Trump administration calls a disinformation campaign.

Some of Washington's allies had been wary of Trump, who spoke during his election campaign of seeking closer ties with Moscow and questioned the value of USA support for its traditional friends. Russian Federation has never publicly acknowledged any such attack by Assad's forces and has tried for the past 18 months to help him expand his authority in Syria.