Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Moscow has serious suspicions that foreign-backed militants fighting in Syria will continue attempts to use chemical weapons in the Arab country.
“We have serious suspicions that these attempts [to use chemical weapons] will continue,” Lavrov said in an interview with the Russian Kommersant daily published on Monday.
He added that the US has not produced any evidence on the Syrian government’s role in last month’s chemical attack.
Washington had threatened to take military action against Syria over a claim that the Syrian government had been behind a deadly chemical attack near Damascus on August 21.
Syria strongly rejected the allegation, saying the attack had been carried out by the foreign-backed militants to draw in outside military intervention.
“They did not produce it to us. Meanwhile, we produced the evidence we have [received through our own channels, from Syrians and from independent sources] that prompts the conclusion that it is handiwork of the opposition.”
The top Russian diplomat, whose country is a permanent member of the UN Security Council, noted that the new UN resolution on Syria does not imply the use of force.
The UN Security Council on September 27 unanimously approved a resolution to avert a US-led military strike against Syria. The resolution condemned the use of chemical weapons in the country and called for their elimination.
The resolution came after days of intense negotiations between the United States and Russia and does not fall under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which regulates the use of military force.
“At the meeting with the UN Secretary General and with the five permanent members of the Security Council and at the Security Council session itself we stressed that the countries acting as sponsors of the opposition in the political, financial and military respects bear responsibility for it not trying to lay hands on some stocks of chemical weapons, to receive it from somewhere abroad or stage provocations within Syria to shift the blame on the government, arouse general anger and thus try to provoke an outside strike at Syria,” said Lavrov.
Lavrov said that in compliance with the new UN resolution “any abuses permitted by any side –the Syrian government or the militants — must be reported to the UN Security Council after a thorough investigation.”
“This also applies to the use of chemical weapons by, God forbid, anyone,” he added.
Lavrov further said that Moscow is glad that despite initial resistance from Western states, the new resolution includes the approval of Geneva Communiqué, which calls for an end to the Syrian crisis through negotiations.
Foreign-sponsored militancy has gripped Syria for over two years and the turmoil has taken its toll on the lives of many people across the country.