Boris Johnson's decision to pull out of Moscow trip a 'gross miscalculation'
'I simply cannot understand why the Government took this position'
Critics have turned on Mr Johnson over the cancellation of his trip to Russia Getty
Boris Johnson should not be Foreign Secretary if he cannot be trusted to go to Moscow for talks over Syria, critics claimed after he pulled out of a meeting with his Russian counterpart.
Mr Johnson cancelled the trip following discussions with the United States but the move is a "gross miscalculation" looks “daft” and has landed him in “deep political trouble”, it has been claimed.
US secretary of state Rex Tillerson will go ahead with a planned trip to Moscow to deliver a “clear and co-ordinated” message to the Kremlin over its support for Bashar Assad's Syrian regime.
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But the move makes the Foreign Secretary look like “some sort of mini-me” who cannot be trusted to hold his own talks with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, Alex Salmond said.
The SNP's foreign affairs spokesman told BBC1's Andrew Marr Show: “Boris Johnson just looks daft.
“What is the argument for not going ahead with a visit? Rex Tillerson is going on Wednesday so it can't be that we have moved to a Cold War position of no talking whatsoever.
“The idea the Foreign Secretary can't be trusted because he might pursue his own line or have an independent thought or crossover what the Americans are going to say just makes him look like some sort of mini-me to the United States of America.
“That's not a position any Foreign Secretary would want to be in.”
“Boris Johnson looks in deep political trouble this morning,” he added.
Liberal Democrat former leader Lord Campbell of Pittenweem said pulling out of the talks had been a “gross miscalculation” and was “frankly inexplicable”.
He told BBC Radio 4's Westminster Hour: “I doubt very much Mr Johnson had the authority to make that decision himself.
“It must have been a decision made at the highest level in government, doubtless with the Prime Minister and frankly I find it inexplicable.
“If your argument is that the solution to the issues in Syria is to be a political settlement then why avoid going to talk to one of the parties which will be an essential feature in any political settlement, namely Russia because of its close relationship with President Assad.
“I simply cannot understand why the Government took this position and in my view, candidly, I regard it as a gross miscalculation.”
“The fact of the matter is if Mr Johnson couldn't be trusted to go to Moscow, then he should not be the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom,” he added.
Russia has consistently denied that Syrian forces used chemical weapons, insisting the incident at Khan Sheikhoun was caused by a hit on a rebel chemical weapons plant, a claim dismissed by the West.
Russia's embassy in London tweeted: “It is deplorable that BorisJohnson found himself unfit to stand Western ground on Syria in bilateral talks with Sergey Lavrov.”
A Government source accused Mr Johnson's critics, including Lib Dem leader Tim Farron, of playing politics.
“It's a shame that some like Farron, Salmond and McDonnell put polls and politics above sorting out a civil war, it's very sad and shows how desperate they are,” they said.
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/20 ... a-tensions
Russia decries cancelled Boris Johnson visit and warns on further Syria attacks
Moscow says decision to cancel trip shows Britain has no real influence and warns further aggressions in Syria will be met with forceful response
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson arrives for a cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street, in London, Britain
Peter Walker and Shaun Walker
Monday 10 April 2017
Russian officials have launched a scathing attack on the UK ahead of a gathering of G7 foreign ministers on Monday, criticising Boris Johnson’s decision to cancel an upcoming trip to Moscow due to increased tensions about Syria.
The foreign secretary faced criticism at home and abroad on Sunday for postponing the visit, prompting his allies of the foreign secretary to say critics had put “polls and politics above sorting out a civil war”.
In a further escalation of the rhetoric regarding last week’s US airstrike, a joint command centre made up of the forces of Russia, Iran and militias supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said the retaliatory missile attack crossed “red lines” and it would respond to any new aggression and increase its support for its ally. “What America waged in an aggression on Syria is a crossing of red lines. From now on we will respond with force to any aggressor or any breach of red lines from whoever it is and America knows our ability to respond well,” said the statement published by the group on media outlet Ilam al Harbi (War Media).
Amid continuing repercussions from last week’s chemical weapons attack on civilians in Khan Sheikhun and the US strike, the Russian foreign ministry and embassy in London belittled Britain’s role in the crisis.
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Johnson’s cancellation showed a “fundamental misunderstanding or lack of knowledge of the events in Syria, Russia’s efforts to settle that crisis and the general objectives of diplomacy”, the Russian foreign ministry said.
“The decision to call off Johnson’s visit to Moscow confirms once again doubts in the presence of added value in speaking to the UK, which does not have its own position on the majority of present-day issues, nor does it have real influence on the course of international affairs, as it remains ‘in the shadow’ of its strategic partners. We do not feel that we need dialogue with London any more than it does.”
Russia’s embassy in London, meanwhile, said it was “deplorable” that Johnson felt unable to meet his counterpart Sergei Lavrov. It tweeted mocking polls, including one that sought views on Donald Trump “as a wartime leader and Johnson as his lieutenant”.
*PS:Even Chris Patten ,last Gov. of Hong Kong,a few days ago in a BBC interview said that Britain must realise that it has diminshed considerably in influence globally and is a middle-ranking power.He was saying this in the context of Brexit,and that leaving the EU would diminish it even further.
Mrs.T (not Thactcher,but Theresa!) seems to think that Britain's traditional role post empire to be Uncle Sam's poodle is the answer to "diminished status". But BoJo's cancellation of his Moscow visit has spectacularly backfired when the US Sec. of State is going ahead with his visit.The Russians have snubbed the US and Tillerson too by cancelling a visit he was to have had with Pres. Putin. NO doubt about it.The gloves are off from the Russian side too.Time to sell shares as they will plummet enormously if there is US-Russia mil spat and the US is planning for more to come.