Syria expected to dominate G7 talks in Italy

Syria is expected to dominate talks between foreign ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized nations in Italy on Monday.

The ministers aim to pressure Russia to end its support for Syrian President Bashar Assad, according to media reports. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida are among those attending the meeting, in the walled city of Lucca in Tuscany.

On a visit to Sant’Anna di Stazzema, the site of World War II massacre by Nazi soldiers, Tillerson said Monday that the U.S. would hold to account “any and all” who commit crimes against innocent people.

The G7 summit follows a chemical attack last week that killed more than 80 people in the rebel-held Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun, and U.S. missile strikes on an air base in retaliation.

Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano, who is hosting the G7 meeting, said in an interview Sunday that support for the U.S. military strikes by many European countries had contributed to a “renewed harmony” between the U.S. and its partners.

“We need to remember that not 10 years ago, but 100 or 120 days ago, the concern in Europe was that the United States and the EU were moving apart. I welcome this renewed harmony,” he  told Sky TG24 Sunday.

Tillerson is due to travel to Moscow on Wednesday, where he is expected to meet with officials including Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

“I’m hopeful that we can have constructive talks with the Russian government, with Foreign Minister Lavrov and have Russia be supportive of a process that will lead to a stable Syria,” Tillerson told ABC’s “The Week” on Sunday.

Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, told reporters Monday that Putin had no plans to meet with Tillerson this week.

“We have not announced any meetings. A meeting with Tillerson is currently not on the president’s schedule,” he said.

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