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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia Welcomes Plans by UN Inspectors to Return to Syria – Lavrov

RIA Novosti

15:00 22/09/2013

MOSCOW, September 22 (RIA Novosti) – Russia welcomes the plans of UN chemical weapons inspectors to return to Syria to complete their investigation, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Sunday.

In the interview with Channel One, Lavrov said he welcomed the statement made by Ake Sellstrom, the head of the inspection team, last week that the inspectors would return to Syria "within weeks" and complete the investigation into the alleged use of chemical weapons in the country.

"It is regrettable that our Western partners have taken advantage of their influence on the UN Secretariat and made the experts stop their work temporarily and make feverishly a report on the August 21 events," Lavrov said saying that alleged chemical weapons attacks also occurred on August 22,24 and 25 that also need to be investigated.

The Obama administration has accused Bashar Assad's government of responsibility for an Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack outside Damascus that Washington claims killed more than 1,400.

Russian President Vladimir Putin repeated Thursday Moscow's claim that the attack was likely carried out by rebels seeking to frame Assad as they battle to remove him from power.

Moscow has also cast doubt on the findings of a report by UN inspectors released this week about the Aug. 21 attack and has called for a follow-up inspection. US officials say the report clearly demonstrates the Assad regime's culpability.

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