First Published: 2013-09-02

 

Russia FM: Syria chemical attack claims 'absolutely' unconvincing

 

Arab FMs urge UN, world to take 'deterrent' steps on Syria, fall short of calling for military strikes.

 

Middle East Online

The war drums are beating

MOSCOW - Russia is totally unconvinced by the evidence presented by the United States and its allies of an alleged chemical attack outside Damascus that the West says was perpetrated by the regime, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday.

"What we were shown before and most recently by our American partners as well the British and the French absolutely does not convince us," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a university lecture, adding there were "many doubts" about images of the alleged attack posted on the Internet.

Meanwhile, Arab League foreign ministers on Sunday urged the United Nations and the international community to take "deterrent" action against the Syrian regime over alleged chemical attacks near Damascus.

But they fell short of calling for military strikes as proposed by the United States, amid divisions in Arab ranks with several countries opposed to foreign intervention in Syria.

"The United Nations and the international community are called upon to assume their responsibilities in line with the UN Charter and international law by taking the necessary deterrent measures" following the August 21 suspected chemical attacks, they said in a statement.

The ministers, meeting in Cairo, said the Syrian regime was "responsible" for the attacks which the United States says killed hundreds of people with the use of sarin gas.

US President Barack Obama said he will seek congressional approval to launch a punitive strike on the regime in Damascus over last month's attacks in suburbs of the Syrian capital.

UN chemical weapons inspectors have carried out a probe in the suspected sites and collected samples which will be sent to European laboratories from Monday.

The UN has refused to announce its timeline for finishing the analysis.

"We have learned through samples that were provided to the United States and that have now been tested from first responders in East Damascus, (that) hair samples and blood samples have tested positive for signatures of sarin," US Secretary of State John Kerry told NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday.

The Arab foreign ministers said those responsible for unleashing the poison gas in Syria must be tried before an international court "like other war criminals."

They also called for "all forms of support needed by the Syrian people" but without explicitly calling for military strikes as proposed by the United States and France.

 

16 killed in Israeli shelling of UN school in Gaza

Islamists capture key Benghazi army base

US plans largest ever sale of lethal missiles to Iraq

Mosul’s residents rise up against jihadists

Qatar invests in Israeli soccer

Militants fire at Tunisia army helicopter

Italian fire-fighting planes to come to Libya rescue

Syria rebels advance towards Hama military airport

Bloodshed in Gaza surges amid no truce

Major western powers call for Libya ceasefire

US-Israeli ties sink to new depths over Gaza war

UN warns buying oil from terrorists could lead to sanctions

Air Algerie crash black boxes sent to France

Warning of Tripoli catastrophe after huge oil depot blaze

US, UN call for immediate Gaza ceasefire

Egypt army kills 14 jihadists in restive Sinai Peninsula

Calls for temporary Gaza ceasefire fall on deaf ears

Yemen army foils new Qaeda attempt to seize military posts

Investigators need ‘few days’ to probe cause of Algeria plane crash

Tunisia army suffers more losses in open war with terrorism

Jihadists advance amid escalation in Syria anti-regime offensive

Iraq Shiite militia takes bloody revenge against ‘Islamic State’ in Baquba

Fierce clashes kill at least 38 people in Benghazi

Israel resumes devastating military assault on Gaza

Thousands face famine as food security situation worsens in Somalia

Death toll in Gaza climbs as fragile ceasefire reveals destruction

Egypt summons Turkey charge d'affaires for second time in one week

‘Islamic State’ jihadists dynamite Shiite shrine in Mosul

US evacuates embassy staff in Libya over ‘real risk’

Investigators begin 'difficult' probe into Air Algerie plane disaster

Armed men snatch Head of Baghdad Provincial Council

‘Islamic State’ beheads Syrian soldiers in Raqa

Kerry in Paris for talks on long-term Gaza truce

Hezbollah chief speaks out on Gaza

Two rival Islamic states in Syria power struggle

Crete protest against Syria chemicals destruction in Mediterranean

74 killed in IS assault on Syria regime territory

Iran confirms arrest of Washington Post correspondent

Somali 'Shebab commanders' killed in AU offensive

Paris: survivors of Air Algerie jet crash 'unlikely'

Jordan shots down drone near Syria border

Gaza civilian toll spiralling to above 800

UN urges Europe to tackle Mediterranean migrant crisis

From Israel with ‘virus’: Death threat letter reaches Palestinian mission in France

Ordeal of ‘apostasy’ woman ends with departure from Sudan