Russian Federation knew in advance of Syrian chemical attack

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu earlier in the day said the regime still had "chemical weapons capacity" as top diplomats gathered for G7 talks in Italy.

Tillerson's Moscow talks hinge on new U.S. leverage over Syria.

"We take very seriously the possibility that Syria may have additional agents elsewhere", an official said, pointing out that after a 2013 agreement, Syria "gave up a huge amount" and there was a "huge effort" to remove and destroy them.

The Russian Embassy in London also warned in a tweet that a G7 "ultimatum" to Moscow to cut ties with the Syrian government could result in a "real war".

Last week's attack prompted Washington to launch a barrage of Tomahawk missiles on a Syrian air base.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel on Monday said it is essential to have Russian Federation and Iran at the negotiation table for peace talks.

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USA officials have accused Russian Federation of knowing about the attack ahead of time and trying to help cover it up.

"We have information that a similar provocation is being prepared.in other parts of Syria including in the southern Damascus suburbs where they are planning to again plant some substance and accuse the Syrian authorities of using (chemical weapons)".

Tillerson made plain that the chemical attack last week in Syria was unacceptable to the USA, and that the US retaliatory missile strike against a Syrian base presented Russian Federation with a choice: either continue to side with Syria, Iran and the militant group Hezbollah, or join with the US and other likeminded countries.

Alfano says the idea was raised at a meeting in Lucca, Italy, by British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

But he stopped short of directly calling for the removal of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, saying the U.S.

"Russia needs to decide whether it wants to double down on its support of a murderous regime that is committing war crimes, or whether right now it wants to say, 'You know what?"

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At the weekend, USA ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said regime change in Syria was inevitable.

"It can be said that the level of trust at the working level, especially at the military level, has not become better but most likely has degraded", Putin said in an interview broadcast Wednesday by state television channel Mir.

He called Moscow "incompetent" for failing to hold up its end of a deal to rid Syria of chemical weapons, and accused Russian Federation of interfering in European-but not American-elections.

"The United States will not passively stand by while Assad murders innocent people with chemical weapons, which are prohibited by global law and which were declared destroyed", Pentagon chief James Mattis said Monday.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson steps off his plane at Pisa Military Airport in Pisa, Italy, on Sunday, April 9, 2017.

Tillerson says no reason for Russia to retaliate
But in the aftermath of the attack, Trump ordered the strike targeting the Shayrat air base in central Syria's Homs province with 59 Tomahawk missiles.

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