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Political intrigue hampers honest investigation of WMD use in Syria - Lavrov

Political intrigue hampers honest investigation of WMD use in Syria - Lavrov
Using weapons of mass destruction as a tool in geopolitical games prevents an honest investigation of their alleged use in Syria, says Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

He told a news conference in Moscow on Monday, “There are states and external players who think that all means are good if they lead to displacement of the Syrian regime. But the issue of the use of weapons of mass destruction is too serious and no one should play with it. I consider it inadmissible to use this issue and speculate on it.”

“The blame for the fact that no one investigates the particular incident that took place on March 19 and that still causes universal concern should be put on the nations that attempt to prevent the UN Secretary General from a simple and direct answer to a simple and direct question,” the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry added.

Sergey Lavrov was referring to the alleged chemical weapons attack near the city of Aleppo. The Syrian government said that rebels used a rocket with a chemical warhead killing 25 people and injuring 86. The authorities have asked top UN officials to open an investigation into the incident.

However, the inquiry has stalled as a group of Western nations are blocking it, insisting an international commission should investigate a different case of supposed chemical attack – near Homs in December for which the rebels blame government forces.

The Syrian government has denied entry to a UN team of investigators, saying that it must include Russian specialists to ensure that it is unbiased.

Sergey Lavrov noted that “no one has presented any proof for these claims [of a chemical attack near Homs] and the intelligence agencies, including the ones of our Western partners, said that these statements lacked any detailed proof whatsoever.”

Lavrov also refuted the reports in the Lebanese media that the Russian stance on Syria had changed. “We can guess that there are people in Lebanon and in a number of other capitals in the region who would like to indulge in wishful thinking,” the minister said while commenting on the possibility of change.

“There is no change in our position. From the very beginning we called for everyone who can influence the situation not to take any sides and demand from all combatants to stop violence and start negotiations without any prior conditions. This position remains absolutely consistent in present,” the Russian official stated.