Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tillerson to go to Russia but will skip NATO meeting next month

China's President Xi Jinping, right, meets with U.S. State of Secretary Rex Tillerson at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Sunday. [Associated Press]

China's President Xi Jinping, right, meets with U.S. State of Secretary Rex Tillerson at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Sunday. [Associated Press]

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will travel to Russia next month, a week after a NATO summit meeting he is skipping, State Department officials said Monday.

Tillerson's trip to Moscow, right after he flies to Italy for a meeting of ministers from the Group of Seven countries, comes at a time when the Kremlin's alleged cyberattacks during the presidential campaign and its meetings with several Trump campaign officials are being scrutinized by the FBI and Congress.

The White House appears to be trying to tackle the controversy head on by dispatching Tillerson, who conducted oil negotiations with Russia when he headed ExxonMobil and was awarded a presidential medal of friendship by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Often, U.S. and Russian diplomats meet in a third country, so they don't convey the impression either is catering to the other.

Tillerson has been notably absent from several meetings with foreign leaders, causing some critics to question whether he has much influence over foreign policy in the Trump administration. His visit to Moscow, which was first reported by Reuters, could help dispel that impression.

State Department officials would not confirm that the reason Tillerson will skip the meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels on April 5 and 6 is because he will be attending President Trump's meeting with visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. Tillerson met with Xi last weekend in Beijing to discuss the growing threat from North Korea's nuclear ambitions. Hinting that Tillerson will be present when Xi talks with Trump, a State Department official said Tillerson told Xi he hoped they would meet again "very soon."

One stop that is not on Tillerson's schedule next month is NATO headquarters in Brussels, where foreign ministers from Europe will be gathering at a meeting Tillerson would normally be expected to attend. But officials said Tillerson did not consider it imperative to go because he will meet some two dozen of the same foreign ministers in Washington on Wednesday for a summit on combating the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. And he talked with many of them at a meeting in Bonn last month.

Tom Shannon, the undersecretary of state for political affairs who is the number two diplomat in the absence of a deputy secretary, will represent the United States at the NATO meeting.

Tillerson to go to Russia but will skip NATO meeting next month 03/21/17 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 21, 2017 12:57am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Washington Post.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Secret Service says it will run out of money to protect Trump and his family Sept. 30

    National

    WASHINGTON — The Secret Service said Monday that it has enough money to cover the cost of protecting President Donald Trump and his family through the end of September, but after that the agency will hit a federally mandated cap on salaries and overtime unless Congress intervenes.

    Secret service agents walk with President Donald Trump after a ceremony to welcome the 2016 NCAA Football National Champions the Clemson Tigers on the South Lawn of the White House on June 12, 2017. [Olivier Douliery | Sipa USA via TNS]
  2. After fraught debate, Trump to disclose new Afghanistan plan

    War

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump will unveil his updated Afghanistan policy Monday night in a rare, prime-time address to a nation that broadly shares his pessimism about American involvement in the 16-year conflict. Although he may send a few thousand more troops, there are no signs of a major shift in …

    U.S. soldiers patrol the perimeter of a weapons cache near the U.S. military base in Bagram, Afghanistan in 2003. Sixteen years of U.S. warfare in Afghanistan have left the insurgents as strong as ever and the nation's future precarious. Facing a quagmire, President Donald Trump on Monday will outline his strategy for a country that has historically snared great powers and defied easy solutions.  [Associated Press (2003)]
  3. Trial begins for man accused of threatening to kill Tampa federal judge

    Criminal

    TAMPA — Jason Jerome Springer was in jail awaiting trial on a firearms charge when he heard inmates talking about a case that had made the news.

    His attorney said Jason Jerome Springer, 39, just talked, and there was “no true threat.”


  4. Editorial: Tampa Electric customers should not pay for utility's fatal misjudgments

    Editorials

    There will be financial fallout from the terrible miscalculations that resulted in five workers being killed in June at Tampa Electric's Big Bend Power Station. State and federal regulators should ensure those costs are borne by the company's shareholders, not its customers. Monetary considerations will not begin to …

    LUIS SANTANA   |   Times
There will be financial fallout from the terrible miscalculations that resulted in five workers being killed in June at Tampa Electric's Big Bend Power Station. State and federal regulators should ensure those costs are borne by the company's shareholders, not its customers.
  5. Superior Uniform acquires Los Angeles-based PublicIdentity

    Corporate

    SEMINOLE — A subsidiary of Seminole-based Superior Uniform Group has acquired Los Angeles-based branded merchandise company PublicIdentity Inc.

    Superior Uniform Group CEO Michael Benstock
[Courtesy of Superior Uniform Group]