Thursday, August 29, 2013
UK Should Wait for Results of UN Probe in Syria
MOSCOW, August 29 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called for patience in the situation around Syria, the Foreign Ministry reported.
In a phone conversation requested by the British side, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague informed Lavrov of a British-proposed draft UN resolution authorizing “the necessary measures” to protect Syria’s civilians.
But Lavrov told Hague that it was necessary to wait until UN experts finished their probe into claims that chemical weapons had been used in Syria.
Western powers are considering armed intervention in the two-year civil war after hundreds of people were killed last week in the Syrian capital Damascus in an apparent nerve gas attack that the Syrian opposition claimed was performed by government forces.
The Syrian government quickly denied the allegations and said it had evidence of rebel groups using chemical weapons.
Syria has provided UN inspectors with proof that Syria’s authorities had not used poisonous substances, but that “terrorists” had used them, a Syrian deputy foreign minister said Wednesday.
A UN team of chemical weapons investigators started working in Damascus last week.The team is expected to visit three sites of alleged chemical weapons attacks, including the one last week in Ghouta, an eastern part of the city.
Western countries could launch an attack on Syria within days, Reuters reported Tuesday, citing sources who attended a meeting between US envoys and Syrian rebels.
The United Nations Security Council has so far not authorized any military intervention in the Syrian crisis. Moscow, along with Beijing, has previously vetoed three UN Security Council resolutions condemning Syrian President Bashar Assad's government.
Russia has been Syria's most important ally during the civil war. Moscow has sent to Damascus some weapons that it said were being supplied under previously agreed deals.
Russia harshly criticized the United States on Tuesday for allegedly using “unproven excuses” to justify military action in Syria and said Moscow was “seriously disappointed” by Washington’s decision to put off a bilateral meeting to discuss the crisis.