Following a meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, Syrian President Bashar Assad
thanked Russia for its support of his country at a time when Syria
is fighting terrorism.
Assad told members of a US delegation: "The policy of the American administration in the region is based on the launch of wars, intervening in policy and imposing hegemony on their peers, and it is not fulfilling the interests of the American people and contradicts their values."
Russia has been Syria's main ally since the start of the conflict in March 2011, blocking proposed UN resolutions that would impose sanctions on Assad's regime and opposing an attempt to authorize the use of force if Syria does not abide by the agreement to get rid of its chemical weapons.
Ryabkov, Assad (Photo: Reuters)
Russia also has repeatedly claimed that a chemical weapons attack in Syria on March 19 was committed by the rebels.
The ITAR-Tass news agency on Wednesday quoted Ryabkov as saying that Syria told Russian officials the material "bears witness to the rebels participating in the chemical attack" but that Russia has not yet drawn any conclusions.
Russia denounced UN
investigators' findings on a poison gas attack in Syria as preconceived and tainted by politics on Wednesday, stepping up its criticism of a report Western nations said proved Assad's forces were responsible.
"We are disappointed, to put it mildly, about the approach taken by the UN secretariat and the UN inspectors, who prepared the report selectively and incompletely," Ryabkov told the state-run Russian news agency RIA in Damascus.
"Without receiving a full picture of what is happening here, it is impossible to call the nature of the conclusions reached by the UN experts ... anything but politicized, preconceived and one-sided," Ryabkov said after talks with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem.
The report issued on Monday confirmed the nerve agent sarin was used in the August 21 attack but did not assign blame. Britain, France and the United States said it confirmed Syria's government, not rebels as Russia has suggested, was behind it.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday the investigation was incomplete without examination of evidence from other sources and that suspicions of chemical use after August 21 should also be investigated.
Ryabkov said Syrian authorities had given him alleged evidence of chemical weapons use by Assad's opponents.
The stark disagreement over blame for the attack may complicate discussions among Security Council members – Russia, China, the United states, Britain and France – over a Western-drafted resolution to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons.
AP, Reuters contributed to this report
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