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Lavrov: West’s failure to condemn chemical weapons use encourages fight against Damascus

November 24, 2016, 13:23 UTC+3

All assertions about the use of chemical substances as weapons by the Syrian government should be double-checked, they are not one-hundred percent proven, Lavrov said

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MOSCOW, November 24. /TASS/. The West’s failure to condemn the use of chemical weapons by militants sends a message to the opposition that all means are good in fighting against Damascus, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters on Thursday.

"Experts of the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) have confirmed that a whole range of opposition groups used chemical weapons," Lavrov said.

"When in this situation instead of launching an additional investigation into all the reports, they say about the need to condemn the regime without mentioning the facts of the chemical weapons use by the opposition, this is another signal to this opposition that all means are good in the fight against the regime," he stressed.

Russia insists that any information and suspicion about the use of chemical weapons need to be checked, Lavrov said. "The allegations on the use of chemical substances as weapons by the Syrian government need to be double checked, they have not been confirmed 100%."

France’s idea to convene a meeting of the countries that support the Syrian opposition diverts from the conflict settlement, Lavrov also said.

"We have heard about this proposal," the minister said. "But that would divert us from fulfilling the task set in the UN Security Council Resolution 2254, that is launching immediate inter-Syrian talks involving all the opposition groups and the Syrian government."

According to Lavrov, "if only the countries that support the Syrian opposition take part in the proposed meeting, it would be a signal for the opposition meaning there is no rush to start the talks.".

Lavrov criticized the statement of his French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault on the need to wage a "total war" against the Syrian regime. Russia’s top diplomat stressed that a focus should be instead made on "implementing collective approaches of the international community" aimed at political settlement. It’s not in France’s interests to be opposed to these approaches, he added.

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