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.

 

UN Security Council calls for Polisario pullback from Guerguerat

UK warns of ‘increased level of terrorist activity’

Merkel warns EU-Turkey ties 'severely hit' by Ankara developments

Pope Francis flies to Egypt as 'pilgrim of peace'

420 tonnes of plastic bags seized in year in Morocco since ban

President of European rights group censured for Assad meeting

Palestinians protest to support prisoners on hunger strike

Turkish army, Syrian Kurdish militia in new clashes

Erdogan to rejoin Turkey ruling party next week

Germany urges EU not to break off Turkey accession talks

OPCW says chemical weapons allegedly used 45 times in Syria

Netanyahu slams German foreign minster as 'insensitive'

Erdogan hopes for 'new page' with US under Trump

UN envoy to Libya to visit Sudan for peace talks

Tunisian PM booed out of town hall meet

Russian spy ship sinks off Turkish coast

London police arrest ‘terror act’ knifeman by parliament

Palestinians strike in support of protesting prisoners

Two Saudi soldiers killed in rocket attack near Yemen border

German soldier plots attack under refugee disguise

Iraq forces retake town of Hatra from IS

Syria accuses Israel of strike near Damascus airport

10 dead after strikes on rebel-held hospitals in Syria

Turkey’s AKP to hold special congress readmitting Erdogan

EU reviews Libya request for naval equipment

Jail terms over death of Moroccan fishmonger

UN appoints Syrian Olympic swimmer as ambassador

Bahraini activist on hunger strike behind bars

Calls on Saudi social media for jobless protest

Tunisian coastguards no match for high-speed smugglers

US wants 'strong, democratic' Turkey: ambassador

Israeli tank trades shots with Hamas in Gaza

Syria says France 'hiding truth' about chemical attack

NATO chief warns Turkey to respect ‘rule of law’

Exiled Turkish journalist urges EU to confront Erdogan

Mass funeral for dozens slain in Syria bus attack

Qatar insists Baghdad had ‘full knowledge’ of hostage deal

UN eyes new Yemen peace talks

Erdogan resumes Gulen arrests after referendum win

Turkey opposition heads to European court to challenge referendum

Turkey says informed US, Russia prior to Kurdish strikes

Iraqi forces liberate ancient city of Hatra from IS

Saudi fire stops explosives-laden boat from Yemen

50 Syria migrants stranded on Morocco-Algeria border

Libya asks EU for patrol boats to stem migrant wave