G-7 Foreign Ministers have rejected UK drive for sanctions on Russia and Syria following suspected chemical attack.

Top diplomats from the seven major advanced economies were in Italy for their annual two-day meeting which had initially been expected to focus on talks with new US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson about hotspots like Libya, Iran and Ukraine.

But the agenda is now likely to be dominated by last week’s suspected chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held Syrian town that killed at least 87 civilians, and the us cruise missiles fired at a Syrian air base in retaliation.

It was the first time Washington has intervened directly against the regime of Assad, who is fighting a civil war with the backing of Russia and Iran, and the G7 ministers will deliberate the west’s next steps.

Several rounds of un-backed peace talks have failed to end the conflict, which has killed more than 320,000 people since March 2011.

The g7 gathering in the Tuscan city of Lucca brought foreign ministers from the United States as well as Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan to the 15th century ducal palace.

The ministers, ushered out of the Tuscan sunshine and into the fresco-decorated palace for their first working session, were set to go on a walking tour of the city’s historic centre later before a working dinner in the majestic palazzo Orsetti.