‘Keep political drive off UN Syria report’
Russia says that political agenda should not drive the process of examining the UN report on the August 21 chemical weapons attack in Syria.
“As people examine it (the UN report), everyone can draw their own conclusion, but I hope that won’t be driven by political motives,” Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said on Monday.
He also called for a serious and professional handling of the report, saying, “We want everyone to … look at it with eyes of experts.”
“The report is diligent but very technical. It avoids categorical judgments and inferences, and it needs to be studied,” he added.
The Russian ambassador to the UN made the comments after a team of UN inspectors reported that chemical weapons had been deployed “on a relatively large scale” in the Syria conflict.
The report, which was presented to the UN Security Council by chief UN chemical weapons investigator Ake Sellstrom on Monday, said there was “clear and convincing evidence that surface-to-surface rockets containing the nerve agent sarin were used in Ein Tarma, Moadamiyah and Amalaka in the Ghouta area of Damascus.”
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the use of chemical weapons in Syria as “a war crime” and demanded the perpetrators of the deadly attack be brought to justice.
“The report makes for chilling reading,” Ban told a news conference after he delivered the report to the Security Council.
The UN team’s mandate did not include assigning blame for the attack.
Hundreds of people were killed and scores of others were injured in the chemical attack which took place in the suburbs of Damascus.
The militants operating inside Syria and the foreign-backed Syrian opposition claimed that the deadly attack was carried out by the army.
Damascus, however, has strongly denied the accusation, saying it was a false-flag operation carried out by Takfiri groups in a bid to draw in foreign military intervention.
Following the chemical attack, the US called for punitive military action against Damascus. The Syrian government averted possible US aggression by accepting a Russian plan to put its chemical arsenal under international control and then have them destroyed.