September 17, 2013 - 15:39 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Russia said on Tuesday, September 17 it still suspected an August 21 chemical weapons attack in Syria was carried out by rebel forces, despite a report by UN investigators which France said showed the government was behind the attack, according to Reuters.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius set out their countries' opposing views following talks in Moscow, one day after the investigators confirmed the deadly nerve agent sarin was used in the attack.
"We have very serious grounds to believe that this was a provocation," Lavrov said of the attack, which the United States has said killed more than 1,400 people in rebel-held areas.
Lavrov, whose country has been the Syrian government's most important ally in the civil war, said there had been "many provocations" by the rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad's government and added: "They were all aimed, over the last two years, at provoking foreign intervention."
He said the UN investigators' report proved that chemical weapons had been used but that "there is no answer to a number of questions we have asked," including whether the weapons were produced in a factory or home-made.
Speaking alongside Lavrov at a joint news conference after their talks, Fabius said the report was convincing.
"When you look at the amount of sarin gas used, the vectors, the techniques behind such an attack, as well as other aspects, it seems to leave no doubt that the (Assad) regime is behind it," Fabius said.
According to The Associated Press, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said Monday that results of a report by UN inspectors confirming the use of chemical weapons in Syria are “overwhelming and indisputable.”
“This is a grave crime. Those responsible must be brought to justice and soon as possible.“ Ban told reporters at UN headquarters in New York. He also emphasized that this is the largest chemical attack in many years.
UN inspectors said Monday that there is "clear and convincing evidence" that chemical weapons were used on a relatively large scale in an attack last month in Syria that killed hundreds of people, including civilians. Ban presented their report to a closed meeting of the UN Security Council in New York Monday morning.
The findings represent the first official confirmation by scientific experts that chemical weapons were used in Syria's civil war, but the report left the key question of who launched the attack unanswered.