Europe

Tillerson: Russia must choose between Assad and the US

  • US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sits at the table during a meeting of foreign ministers of the G7 in Lucca, Italy, Tuesday, April 11, 2017. Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized nations are expected to call for a new international push to end the war in Syria as they end a meeting in Italy Tuesday.  (Riccardo Dalle Luche/ANSA via AP)

    US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sits at the table during a meeting of foreign ministers of the G7 in Lucca, Italy, Tuesday, April 11, 2017. Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized nations are expected to call for a new international push to end the war in Syria as they end a meeting in Italy Tuesday. (Riccardo Dalle Luche/ANSA via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Clockwise from left, France Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, sit at the table during a meeting of foreign ministers of the G7 in Lucca, Italy, Tuesday, April 11, 2017. Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized nations are expected to call for a new international push to end the war in Syria as they end a meeting in Italy Tuesday.  (Riccardo Dalle Luche/ANSA via AP)

    Clockwise from left, France Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, sit at the table during a meeting of foreign ministers of the G7 in Lucca, Italy, Tuesday, April 11, 2017. Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized nations are expected to call for a new international push to end the war in Syria as they end a meeting in Italy Tuesday. (Riccardo Dalle Luche/ANSA via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano, left, welcomes US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, before the meeting of foreign ministers of the G7 in Lucca, Italy, Tuesday, April 11, 2017. Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized nations are expected to call for a new international push to end the war in Syria as they end a meeting in Italy Tuesday.  (Riccardo Dalle Luche/ANSA via AP)

    Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano, left, welcomes US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, before the meeting of foreign ministers of the G7 in Lucca, Italy, Tuesday, April 11, 2017. Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized nations are expected to call for a new international push to end the war in Syria as they end a meeting in Italy Tuesday. (Riccardo Dalle Luche/ANSA via AP)  (The Associated Press)

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says Russia must choose between aligning itself with the U.S. and likeminded countries or embracing Syrian President Bashar Assad, Iran and the militant group Hezbollah.

Tillerson says it's unclear whether Russia failed to take seriously its obligations in Syria or has been incompetent. But he says that distinction "doesn't much matter to the dead."

He says of the recent chemical attack: "We cannot let this happen again."

Tillerson says the U.S. sees no future role for Assad in Syria, but he says the U.S. isn't pre-supposing how Assad's departure will occur.

Tillerson is traveling Tuesday to Moscow. He says Russia can play a role in Syria's future but that aligning with Assad won't serve Russia's long-term interests.