Tillerson to Discuss Syria Crisis With Russian Counterpart

Tillerson, Syria, Russia
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (L) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov shake hands prior to their talks in Moscow, Russia, April 12. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will meet with his Russian counterpart about the Syria crisis amid a new Russian-led push to create safe zones to lower violence.

The State Department and Russia’s Foreign Ministry say that Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will meet in Washington on Wednesday. The following day, both diplomats are scheduled to attend an Arctic Council summit in Alaska.

The U.S. says Tillerson plans to discuss with Lavrov “efforts to de-escalate violence, provide humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people, and set the stage for a political settlement of the conflict.” The two will also discuss Ukraine.

The meeting is an indication the Trump administration is working to keep lines of communication open on Syria, where Moscow has significant influence.