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Russia disappointed by UN experts’ refusal to revisit Syria

September 16, 2013, 19:01 UTC+3

Russian representative at the UN: we urge the commission to work for the benefit of peace, not confrontation

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Photo ITAR-TASS/ Mikhail Potchuev

Photo ITAR-TASS/ Mikhail Potchuev

GENEVA, September 16 (Itar-Tass) - The Russian Foreign Ministry is “deeply disappointed” by the fact that experts from the U.N. commission investigating possible human rights violations in Syria have turned down the invitation to visit that country.

“We would like to express our deep disappointment at the fact that the experts did not use two invitations to visit the country, sent to commission member Carla del Ponte by both Syria’s Great Mufti Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun and the Syrian Government,” Deputy Russian Permanent Representative to the U.N. agencies and other international organisations in Geneva Andrei Nikiforov said on Monday, September 16.

The diplomat took part in a so-called interactive dialogue with the members of the U.N. commission, created in 2011, which presented its latest report to the Human Rights Council. Carla del Ponte said she had turned down an invitation, which was given to her last week, to visit Syria in private capacity as she could travel to the country only as a member of the U.N. commission.

The commission’s report accused the Syrian government of crimes against humanity and rebels of war crimes. Nikiforov noted that the report was “largely biased.” “It gives one the impression that the governmental troops, which are fighting a well-armed and trained army of rebels and foreign mercenaries, are violating international humanitarian law and human rights law. And all this against the background of the appalling crimes against civilians committed by terrorists related to Al-Qaeda,” the diplomat said.

“We urge the commission to pay this special attention so that its reports work for the benefit of peace, not confrontation,” Nikiforov said.

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