On Monday, Minister of Foreign Affairs S V Lavrov said after talks with his Senegalese counterpart Mankeur Ndiaye:
We again stated the need to consolidate efforts of the entire international community in the fight against this universal evil, as President Putin said some 18 months ago addressing the UN General Assembly. We should carry out all steps based on international law and the UN Charter. In this context, we discussed the illegal and aggressive steps of US aviation when they carried out strikes on an airbase in Syria, which only exacerbated the situation and hindered, maybe on purpose, the search for a political settlement.
On April 7, the US military fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles from warships in the Mediterranean Sea on al-Shayrat Airbase located in Syria’s Homs Governate. Reportedly, the US attack on Syrian government forces came in response to the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria’s Idlib Governate on 4 April. According to Minoborony data, Syrian warplanes carried out airstrikes on 4 April that hit workshops where terrorists were producing chemical munitions supplied to Iraq and used in Aleppo. However, Washington concluded that Damascus used chemical weapons.
Russia Demands Explanation on OPCW Investigation
Moscow will demand an explanation on the investigation into the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria conducted by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Recently, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson put the blame on the Syrian government, as well as on Russia and Iran who support Damascus, but failed to provide any evidence, only saying that British experts already studied the samples collected on the scene and came to the conclusion that sarin or some similar substances had been used. It’s an interesting coincidence that the British representatives heading the fact-finding mission didn’t say anything to anyone but British experts were able to study the samples. Today, we’ll file a request demanding an explanation on what’s going on. I expect that there’ll be an answer. The situation isn’t easy, but let’s hope that the majority of countries understand what’s happening. We won’t allow anyone to disrupt efforts aimed at settling the Syrian crisis based on a UN Security Council Resolution.
“We’re Convinced that the Pace Shouldn’t be Lost”
As for the upcoming meeting on Syria in Geneva, we plan it for a period after 3-4 May, that is, after a new round of talks in Astana. We hope that UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura would find an appropriate date because some hints say that the holy month of Ramadan is beginning in late May, and perhaps it’d be appropriate to wait until it is over. We’re convinced that the pace shouldn’t be lost, especially in a situation when the political process is endangered. I mean, the strike against the al-Shayrat aerodrome and the desire of many actors both inside Syria and from amongst the external opposition to exploit this situation to switch the blame fully to the Assad régime and take up a course of a departure from a political settlement to unilateral actions to overthrow the Syrian government.
17 April 2017