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Iran Press TV

Russia 'skeptical' of OPCW probe in Syria

Iran Press TV

Fri Apr 14, 2017 10:40AM

A Russian deputy foreign minister has said Moscow is "skeptical" of the work being carried out by an international organization to probe an alleged chemical attack in Syria, saying Iran, Brazil, and India should be included in any investigation of the purported attack.

A fact-finding mission has been set up by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and has been sent to Syria to interview survivors and gather bio-metric samples from the site of the alleged chemical attack on April 4.

At least 86 people died in the town of Khan Shaykhun in Syria in the incident. The opponents of the Syrian government say it was a chemical attack conducted by Damascus. The Syrian government denies the accusation, saying that a chemical weapons depot held by militants opposed to the government had been hit in a conventional Syrian airstrike, causing the leak of the chemicals and the deaths. Russia has confirmed that account.

Referring to the OPCW mission, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said on Friday that, "Moscow believes that the conclusions formulated by the fact-finding mission in Syria are politically motivated, biased and requiring further clarification."

"We are very skeptical over the way they have worked," he said.

"The trust for their activity continues to dwindle as they ignore obvious facts," the Russian deputy foreign minister said. "They later impose these conclusions on the entire international community as the ultimate truth."

"The mission should include representatives of those countries that can objectively assess the situation rather than follow the guidelines dictated by their governments," the Russian deputy foreign minister added.

The OPCW mission sent to Syria is headed by Ahmeet Uzumcu, a national of Turkey, whose government is vehemently opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Ryabkov said that all permanent United Nations Security Council members should be included in the international watchdog's probe, too.

Last Friday, the US conducted a missile strike against a Syrian base that it says was used to launch the chemical attack.

Reiterating Moscow's interest in finding out the truth about the April 4 incident, Ryabkov said, "The logic is clear. If the United States is right and planes at the Shayrat base were loaded with chemical ammunition, then the respective equipment and traces are to be found there."

"We are very much interested in establishing the truth and are not interested at all in the gambling the United States, Britain, France, and other countries continue for the sake of attaining their geopolitical aims," he said.

The Syrian government, too, has said it would only allow an impartial probe into the incident. The OPCW team has apparently not coordinated with Damascus to enter Syria.

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