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US aggression against Syria works towards strengthening of terrorism — Russian diplomat

Its aftermaths for international and regional stability may be extremely serious, the Russian deputy ambassador to the UN Vladimir Safronkov said
Russian Deputy Ambassador to the UN Vladimir Safronkov AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews
Russian Deputy Ambassador to the UN Vladimir Safronkov
© AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

UNITED NATIONS, April 7. /TASS/. US aggression against Syria works towards the strengthening of terrorism and its aftermaths for international and regional stability may be extremely serious, the Russian Deputy Ambassador to the UN, Vladimir Safronkov said on Friday at a meeting of the UN Security Council.

The US striving to justify its actions by an article of the UN Charter that refers to the right of member-nations to self-defense cannot stand elementary criticism, he said. "In practical terms, US aggression only helps the consolidation of terrorism."

"The (U.S. missile) strike was targeted at the infrastructure of the Syrian Armed Forces and its combat aviation or, in other words, at those who have conducted unrelenting struggle with the Islamic State and Jabhad al-Nusra terrorists groupings throughout all these years," Safronkov said.

The deputy envoy called on the United States to concentrate on a political solution to the Syrian conflict and to team up for joint struggle against terrorists.

"We call on the United States to immediately halt aggression, join the political efforts and start a coordinated struggle against the terrorist threat. We remain ready to cooperation of this kind," he said.

He also advised that Western partners abstained from issuing ultimatums against Moscow or Damascus.

"We either cooperate professionally, or the ultimatums will fail," Safronkov said. "This won’t work. The world has become very complicated and multipolar."

Diverting attention from casualties in Iraq

The United States’ airstrike in Syria was meant to divert attention from numerous casualties from Washington’s and its allies’ actions in Iraq, Safronkov said.

"The air strikes in Syria was an attempt to divert attention from numerous victims in Iraq and Syria caused by unilateral actions. Air strikes are delivers on residential houses and civil facilities, with no humanitarian corridors established," he said.

He noted that the Western mass media are turning a blind eye on the dramatic developments in Iraq’s Mosul where the operation against Islamic State militants has entailed numerous human deaths and triggered mass exodus of refugees. "Are these second-rate casualties?," he said.

The Russian diplomat demanded Western countries abandon their attempt to set Russia at odds with the Iraqi government. "You will never set us at odds with Iraq. It is impossible. Just look at your own relations with Iraq and compare them with ours," he noted.

A ground operation to liberate Mosul from terrorists of Islamic State began on October 17, 2016. It involves the Iraqi troops, Kurdish units and the US-led coalition. By late January 2017, the government gained control of Eastern Mosul and on February 19, Iraq’s Prime Minister Haydar al-Abadi announced an offensive of the city’s western quarters. According to the United Nations, some 500,000 people are staying in the city’s besieged districts.

Conclusions on Damascus’ involvement in chemical attacks 'not worth tuppence'

Conclusions on Damascus’ involvement in chemical attacks are not worth tuppence as the fact-finding mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is working unprofessionally, according to Safronkov.

"The OPCW fact-finding mission is not working as it should opting to rely on reports from oppositionists, internet publications, social networks and a legion of non-government organizations with very unsavory reputation. They don’t even think about trying to work with material evidence on the site of presumable crimes. And do you want us to agree with those data? They are not worth tuppence," he said at a meeting of the United Nations Security Council.

According to the Russian diplomat, Western countries were least interested in "an independent and unbiased investigation" of the incident in the town of Khan Sheikhoun on April 4. "More to it, you were afraid of it… as its results might wreck your anti-regime paradign," he stressed.

Commenting on the statement by US’ Permanent Representative to the United Nations Nikki Haley that the US security services have evidence of the Syrian army’s involvement in the chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun, the Russian diplomat reminded of Washington’s trying to deceive the entire world when back in 2003 it alleged that Iraq had mass destruction weapons.

Russia, according to Safronkov, offered to the Security Council a constructive alternative, i.e. to commission an international commission to the incident site in Syria but this initiative found no support with Western partners.

Russia calls on US to stop aggression against Syria 

Russia calls on the United States to immediately stop aggression against Syria and join efforts towards political settlement of the conflict in that country, Safronkov said.

"We call on the United States to immediately stop the aggression, to join political efforts and begin coordinated fight against the terrorism threat. We are ready for such cooperation," he said.

He also pointed to the inadmissibility of ultimatums in address of Russia and stressed the necessity of professional cooperation. "We cannot live this way. The world has become very difficult and multi-polar," he said.