UK foreign secretary cancels trip to Moscow over Syria

UK foreign secretary cancels trip to Moscow over Syria
Row over Syria chemical weapons attack deepens after Boris Johnson cancels trip to Russia because of new 'developments in Syria'.
2 min read
08 April, 2017
Boris Johnson said his US counterpart Rex Tillerson would still be visiting Moscow [AFP]

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has cancelled a trip to Moscow next week, his office announced Saturday, saying "developments in Syria have changed the situation fundamentally".

"My priority is now to continue contact with the US and others in the run up to the G7 meeting on 10 to 11 April," said Johnson, who was due to depart for Moscow on Monday.

"We deplore Russia's continued defense of the Assad regime even after the chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians," he added.

Johnson called on Russia to do "everything possible to bring about a political settlement in Syria and work with the rest of the international community to ensure that the shocking events of the last week are never repeated".

"I discussed these plans in detail with Secretary Tillerson," Johnson said, adding that the US secretary of state would still visit Moscow as planned to "deliver that clear and co-ordinated message to the Russians".

The UK's foreign secretary backed the US after if fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at the Syrian regime's Shayrat airbase near Homs.

The attack was in response to a chemical weapons attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhun earlier this week, in which over 80 people were killed, including 26 children.

Russia, Syria's most powerful ally, condemned the airstrike as a "flagrant violation of international law and an act of aggression".