Only unbiased international experts can establish if chemical weapons were used in Syria – Ryabkov

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(Interfax – LOUGH ERNE, June 18, 2013) Only independent and serious expert analysis can establish the truth about the Syrian government’s alleged use of chemical weapons. Empty claims cannot be accepted, said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.

“We cannot agree with unilateral arguments and empty claims that the Syrian government uses chemical weapons. We need to draw the most serious and unbiased international experts,” he said at a press briefing on the sidelines of the G8 summit.

The draft communique has no wording dealing with arms shipments to the Syrian opposition, he also said.

“If such an approach is guaranteed, the truth will be established, in my opinion, and we will find ourselves in a better position than now in understanding who bears the responsibility for what and for which reason,” Ryabkov said.

“Russia will continue advocating for Syria to join the convention banning chemical weapons, he said. “As you understand, if a country is signatory to this convention, it assumes a key obligation to eliminate the stockpiles of chemical weapons in its territory,” he said, noting that Syria should walk this way.

Concerning instances when chemical weapons were used in Syria, he said opposition forces used chemical weapons in March, which compelled the Syrian government to invite experts for an analysis.

“For reasons and considerations which I think were purely political, unrelated to the task of establishing the truth, this initiative was kind of forgotten. It is sad that the truth is sometimes sacrificed for political considerations,” Ryabkov said.

The draft communique has no wordings dealing with arms deliveries to the Syrian opposition, he added.

“Concerning the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria, the draft communique, to be confirmed by the leaders, has a paragraph on this issue which is rather large for such a document,” he said.