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Russia: UN report on Syria gas attack 'biased'

After talks in Damascus, Deputy FM Ryabkov says Assad regime presented material implicating rebels in Aug. 21 chemical attack; chief inspector tells BBC destroying all of Syria's WMDs 'doable'

The Syrian regime has handed Russia new materials implicating rebels in a chemical attack outside Damascus on August 21, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said after talks in Damascus.


"The corresponding materials were handed to the Russian side. We were told that they were evidence that the rebels are implicated in the chemical attack," Ryabkov was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies after talks with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem.


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Ryabkov also said Russia was disappointed with a UN report into the chemical weapons attack, saying it was selective and had ignored other episodes. "Without a full picture... we cannot describe the character of the conclusions as anything other than politicized, biased and one-sided," he said.

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On Tuesday the United States accused Russia of ignoring the facts surrounding the poison gas attack in Syria, highlighting tensions between the West and Moscow over how to eliminate the country's chemical weapons.


UN report on gas attack
UN report on gas attack


The report, however, did not apportion blame for the attack but Western nations blame the government forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad.


Despite a weekend agreement between the Cold War rivals aimed at dismantling Syria's chemical arsenal by mid-2014, the two sides remain poles apart in their assessment of the August 21 gas attack which left hundreds dead.



Russia insists the attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta was a "provocation" by opponents fighting Syria President Bashar Assad's regime designed to trigger military strikes by the United States.

The United States and France maintain the attack was carried out by Syrian government forces, and believe an assessment by UN experts released on Monday backed their view.


On Tuesday, after meeting French counterpart Laurent Fabius in Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov repeated Moscow's allegation that the August 21 attack was carried out by Syrian rebels.


Meanwhile the chief UN weapons inspector, Ake Sellstrom, told the BBC it will be difficult to find and destroy all of Syria's chemical weapons, but he believes it is "doable."


Sellstrom said much depended on whether the Syrian government and the opposition were willing to negotiate.


"Of course, it will be a stressful work," he added.


Sellstrom also said his team's report may have contributed to Syria saying it was prepared to give up its chemical weapons.



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פרסום ראשון: 09.18.13, 10:59
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