Russia urges US to wait for chemical probe in Syria

Russia urges US to wait for chemical probe in Syria
Mon Aug 26, 2013 08:21:11

Russia has called on the US and its Western allies not to jump to conclusions on an alleged chemical weapons attack near Damascus, and await for the findings of a UN inspection team scheduled to visit the site on Monday.

On Sunday, the Syrian government agreed to allow the UN weapons experts to examine the area in a Damascus suburb where the alleged poison gas attack reportedly killed hundreds of people.

All countries should wait for the results of the probe and "show prudence and avoid tragic mistakes" by jumping to conclusions about the incident, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Sunday.

"Our American and European partners must understand what catastrophic consequences this kind of politics would have for the region, for the Arab and Islamic world as a whole," Lukashevich said, advising the West to avoid military action against Syria.

In an earlier statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry said a unilateral military action would be a tragic mistake and will have a devastating impact on the security in the Middle East.

It warned the US and its allies against repeating their past mistakes like the one they made regarding Iraq.

Moscow also warned the West against pointing the finger of blame on Syria regarding the alleged attack.

The statement came after the US Defense Department said it is ready for military action if US President Barack Obama decides to do so.

On Saturday, Obama held high-level talks with his security aides over a range of potential options.

The White House has said the president is still undecided. But international opponents of the Syria are pushing for an offensive. France and Israel have called for military action.

On Sunday, Obama discussed the issue with his French counterpart Francois Hollande. Earlier, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said there's no doubt the Syrian government carried out the attack.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague came up with a new accusation, saying Damascus might have already destroyed any evidence of its chemical use. But none of these officials offered their own proof so far.

Syrian government has been investigating reports of an alleged chemical attack in which the opposition claimed that around 1,300 people were killed and the army was responsible for it.

The Syrian government and army have strongly rejected the claims.

A team sent by the United Nations is also set to investigate the latest claim of chemical weapons use outside Damascus.

Despite killing of at least 100,000 people in the massive foreign-backed insurgency in Syria, US had withheld a military intervention which they claim could be solution to the crisis, until a chemical attack was carried out, if any.

Pentagon has moved its naval forces closer to Syria and its chief Chuck Hagel has been affirming readiness to act on Obama’s command.

The war in Syria started in March 2011, when pro-reform protests turned into a massive insurgency following the intervention of Western and regional states.


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