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Chemical attack in Damascus suburb could have been avoided

September 18, 2013, 13:26 UTC+3

Russian ambassador to the UN: if Aleppo chemical weapon deployment was investigated, Ghouta attack could have been avoided

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Vitaly Churkin. Photo EPA/JUSTIN LANE

Vitaly Churkin. Photo EPA/JUSTIN LANE

UNITED NATIONS, September 18 (Itar-Tass) - The Chemical attack in the suburbs of Damascus on August 21 could have been avoided, had the use of toxic agents near Aleppo on March 19 been promptly investigated, Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin stated on Tuesday at the first meeting of the 68th session of the UN General Assembly.

“The tragedy in Ghouta could have been avoided if the use of chemical weapons in Aleppo on March 19 had been promptly investigated,” he said, stressing that the Syrian request to the UN on the incident investigation was “strongly supported” by the Russian Federation. The diplomat said that “the organisation of such an investigation then ran into manipulations by a number of states “that attempted to ‘divert’ the UN attention from it and focus in on other “dubious cases.” That did not prevent Russian experts from studying the case. According to their findings, “the extremist anti-government forces are behind the use of chemical weapons in Aleppo,” stressed the ambassador.

According to Churkin, Russia hopes that the UN inspectors, having completed their work in Ghouta, would “without delay return to the investigation of the originally specified in the mandate three cases of the use of chemical weapons, including the March 19 case in the area of Aleppo, as well as the incidents with intoxication of Syrian soldiers that occurred on August 22, 24 and 25,” which were reported at the end of August by Syrian Ambassador to the UN Bashar Jaafari.

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