Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson led the charge at the G7 for sanctions to be brought against Moscow to no avail, as Germany, Italy and the wider European Union rejected his request.
Johnson’s colleagues, however, are somewhat optimistic that measures can still be implemented to punish Russia, pending a full investigation into the attack. Allies from the EU and Canada highlighted the need for due process. “There must be an investigation on the ground into the chemical attack. Then sanctions are on the table with evidence,” according to an unnamed source who spoke to The Independent.
The G7 came to the consensus that no solution to the crisis in Syria was possible as long as Bashar al-Assad was the leader of the war-torn nation. France’s Jean-Marc Ayrault said G7 foreign ministers have insisted there can be no peaceful solution in Syria with Assad in power, while U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson added that it is clear “to all of us that the reign of the Assad family is coming to an end.”
Johnson had hoped to convince the summit group that specific sanctions should be levied on senior Russian officers and other top officials who have been involved with the ongoing conflict in Syria. UK Prime Minister Theresa May and U.S. President Donald Trump’s joint statement proved to be as ineffective as Johnson’s plea to move the assembly to agree on a timely and appropriate solution to Russia’s entanglement with Assad. The group of nations did, however, responded favorably to U.S.’s recent missile strike on Syria and were united in their condemnation of Assad.
Russia and Iran were unified in their call for an “unbiased investigation” into the gassing at the Syrian village. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif agreed to demand a probe, while denouncing the U.S. attack on the Syrian airbase as “an act of aggression against a sovereign nation”.