Time to pressure Russia on Syria: Bishop

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says pressuring Russia to turn against Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria is a top priority in ending the six-year civil war.

Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop

Julie Bishop says pressuring Russia to turn against Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria is a priority. (AAP) Source: SBS

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is hoping world leaders can convince Russia to withdraw its support of Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria following deadly gas attacks on civilians.

Ms Bishop spoke to British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson overnight, who will be attending a Group of Seven meeting in Italy this week which will discuss Syria and the Middle East.

"Russia will have to recognise it can no longer support the Assad regime," Ms Bishop told ABC Radio.

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US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will travel to Moscow this week for talks with his counterpart.

Ms Bishop insisted the federal government been consistent on Assad and Syria over many years and had not ramped up its rhetoric following last week's chemical weapons attack which killed at least 80 Syrian people, many of them women and children.

In response, the US fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at the government-controlled Shayrat base from destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean Sea on Friday.

"There is not a shift from our government, there has been another chemical weapon attack," she told Sky News on Monday.

"All governments around the world should be shocked."

She said no leader can remain in place if they cannot protect their own people.

"The question is how do you remove President Assad and what does the next day look like, who is in charge of the Syrian military and who is running the country?" Ms Bishop said.


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2 min read
Published 10 April 2017 at 5:10pm
Source: AAP