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Lavrov says West fails to meet its commitments on Syria

The Russian foreign minister says UN Security Council session was called in order to distract attention from attack on Syrian army in Deir ez-Zor

MOSCOW, September 26. /TASS/. The Western countries are not coping with their obligations on Syria and the UN Security Council’s urgent session was called on September 25 to distract attention from the bombing near Deir ez-Zor, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with the NTV channel.

Lavrov reminded that over the past week the Syrian crisis dominated the high-level debate at the UN General Assembly.

A ministerial meeting of the UN Security Council on Syria and two meetings of the International Syria Support Group were held, he said.

"The Syrian government and we were accused of all sins and all answers regarding the accusations were given," Lavrov said.

"We can only guess why it was necessary to convene the urgent meeting during the weekend," Lavrov said. "I think it is not difficult to guess. It is evident that the West led by the US does not cope with its obligations."

The minister stressed that the meeting was needed "to distract the attention from the bombing near Deir ez-Zor."

"I’m not in the mood of finding faults with somebody," he stated. "But we know too well how the leading world mass media, such as the CNN and the BBC can juggle with facts. Just recall the way they covered the situation in Iraq several years ago, and what they have been saying about the current events in Syria today. Of course, we will demand the most thorough investigation."

He recalled that Russia had been urging the most thorough investigation into the attack against the humanitarian convoy in Syria from the outset.

"We demanded an investigation, while John Kerry, a good partner of mine stated all of a sudden (which was very uncommon of him) that an investigation might be conducted, of course, but he everybody else knew who had done that - either the Syrian army or Russia, but in any case Russia was to blame."

"Apparently he was under very strong pressure. He is under the harshest criticism from the US military machine," Lavrov said. "And although US Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama, as I’ve been told all the way, has maintained interaction with Russia, which he confirmed that himself at a meeting with Vladimir Putin in China, it looks like the US military does not eagerly obey the commander-in-chief."

In their reports, he went on to say, Western media were showing damaged trucks, allegedly bombed by Russian or Syrian planes, and even stated that traces of an impact of an air bomb of Russian manufacture had been identified at the site of the tragedy.

"If it is true there was an air strike, then where are the craters?" Lavrov asked. He recalled that in the very first seconds of the first video report aired by the ABC one could see "traces of aluminum powder, a characteristic feature of ammunition Predator drones are armed with. Also, the Americans by no means deny that their drone was above the area of Aleppo where the humanitarian convoy came under attack at the moment of the strike."

Later, those very first seconds of the video footage showing a cloud of metal particles were removed from western media newscasts.

Moscow doubts US ready to attack Jabhat al-Nusra

The top diplomat went on to say that he cannot afford to have absolute trust towards the United States on the issue of its readiness to deal strikes against the terrorist organization Jabhat al-Nusra.

"US Secretary of State John Kerry keeps saying that Jabhat Al-Nusra poses the same terrorist threat as the Islamic State (both outlawed in Russia)," Lavrov said. "But Nusra remains untouchable. This is a paradox. I don’t know whom I can trust. That I cannot trust them (the United States) one hundred percent is for certain." 

"It is a vicious circle. Each time Russia or Syrian planes hit Nusra positions, they make a fuss, claiming that we’ve hit the patriotic opposition again thereby pushing it into Nusra’s embrace," Lavrov said.

At the same time he recalled that US Secretary of State John Kerry stated in public that those who do not regard themselves as terrorists should leave the Jabhat al-Nusra-controlled areas.

Lavrov added that the United States in recent days stopped being an impartial co-chair of the International Syria Support Group and brings the grist to one mill.

"The British have a saying: to move the goalposts. Some of our partners these days are trying to do precisely this," he said. "Regrettably, the United States has contracted this bad habit to stop being an impartial co-chair of the ISSG. It brings the grist to one mill."

"Unfortunately, all the recent actions by the US show that they want even more conditions in order to implement our agreements than what is written on paper," the minister said. "Each side can be sure of what obligations it has accepted. I suppose, everyone already knows that the requirement to separate the opposition from terrorists comes first."

UN caters to interests of Syria’s Riyadh opposition

The Russian foreign minister said UN secretary-general’s special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura caters to the interests of the Riyadh group of the Syrian opposition.

"We are being told: if there is stable truce in the whole territory of Syria, if it lasts, and if all obstructions to the delivery of humanitarian aid are lifted, then the political process will begin," Lavrov said. "The so-called Supreme Commission for Negotiations (SCN, Riyadh group of the opposition - TASS) has inconspicuously torpedoed intra-Syrian talks since May."

"Sadly, the special envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, caters to their interests and points to us and to the Americans," he said.

Early to give up

According to Lavrov, it is early to give up on the Russian-US deal on Syria.

"I think they (the US) don’t think this way," Lavrov said answering a question if one could call the particular agreements quits.

"At least, we are committed to these agreements that have been reached over the past months," Russia’s top diplomat said.

On September 10, Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry coordinated in Geneva a package of five documents aimed at reinstating ceasefire in Syria and laying down the foundation for the resumption of the political process. The ceasefire came into force on September 12, but Russia’s defense ministry has repeatedly stated that the truce has been constantly violated by the opposition.