Bolton: US to act 'very strongly' if Syria uses chemical arms

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas

Bolton is scheduled to meet his Russian counterpart, Nikolai Patrushev, in Geneva later today, and announced yesterday that he would discuss with Moscow the possibility of a "joint effort" to pull Iranian forces out of Syria.

While describing the meeting with his USA counterpart as "constructive", Patrushev said that he had invited US officials to Moscow or any other Russian city for a new round of talks, but no agreement had been reached on the timing for further talks.

Bolton said he and Patrushev had discussed nuclear nonproliferation, Iran, North Korea, arms control, and Middle East issues including Syria and Afghanistan. "That would be an objective that I think President Putin would share", Bolton said without elaboration.

He will also follow up on Trump's highly controversial July summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.

This week, following National Security Adviser John Bolton's announcement he had failed to reach an agreement with his Russian counterpart on election cyberattacks, he held a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

'We are going to de-fund the Human Rights Council, ' Bolton said, while warning that other United Nations agencies could also be up for cuts in USA funding.

In Geneva, Bolton met with Patrushev for five hours.

The statement of these countries is nothing more than a sign of support for "any chemical aggression that these terrorist organizations may undertake in the next few days to use this as a pretext for aggression against Syria, as it did in its brutal aggression on 14 April 2018".

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Wrapping up a visit to Israel, John Bolton also warned Syria's President Bashar al-Assad that the United States would respond "very strongly" if chemical weapons are used against the country's last major rebel bastion.

"Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed Shiite militias reportedly played a key role in re-capturing the region along the border despite Russian assurances they would be kept away from the Israeli border and denials by the Assad regime the Iranian trained and funded forces were taking part in the battle", we reported at the time.

"It wasn't a question of where they might be inside Syria, we were talking about the complete return of both regular and irregular Iranian forces".

"Americans say you should accept what we say in the talks".

Bolton said on Thursday that following the US decision to withdraw from a 2015 worldwide deal aimed at curbing Tehran's nuclear programme, the Trump administration's objective was to "put maximum pressure on the regime" by making sanctions "more extensive and more effective".

On Tuesday, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Europe needed to develop payment networks independent of the United States in order to ensure trade with Iran. "I would say in comparison this current Russiagate... is just minuscule, as far as I'm concerned", Paul told RT.

After a five-hour meeting in Geneva with Putin adviser Nikolai Patrushev, Bolton said that USA options include extending the 2010 New Start accord negotiated by President Barack Obama, renegotiating it or returning to the agreement it replaced - the one-page Moscow Treaty signed in 2002 by President George W. Bush.

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