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Syria chemical attack could`ve been avoided: Russia

Last Updated: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 - 20:27

United Nations: The chemical attack in the suburbs of Damascus Aug 21 could have been avoided, according to Russia`s Permanent Representative to the UN Vitaly Churkin.

Speaking at the first meeting of the 68th session of the UN General Assembly, Churkin said Tuesday the attack could have been avoided had the use of toxic agents near Aleppo March 19 been promptly investigated.

“The tragedy in Ghouta could have been avoided if the use of chemical weapons in Aleppo March 19 had been promptly investigated,” he said, stressing that the Syrian request to the UN for investigation into the incident was “strongly supported” by Russia.

The diplomat said that “the organisation of such an investigation then ran into manipulations by a number of states” that attempted to “divert” UN attention from it and focus on other “dubious cases”.

But that did not prevent Russian experts from studying the case, the envoy said.

According to the findings of the Russian investigation, “the extremist anti-government forces are behind the use of chemical weapons in Aleppo”, he stressed.

According to Churkin, Russia hoped that the UN inspectors, having completed their work in Ghouta, without delay return to the investigation of the originally specified three cases on the use of chemical weapons.

These include the March 19 case in Aleppo “as well as the incidents with intoxication of Syrian soldiers that occurred Aug 22, 24 and 25”, which were reported at the end of August by Syrian Ambassador to the UN Bashar Jaafari, Churkin said.

First Published: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 - 20:27
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