MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has called on Moscow to halt its support of Syrian President Bashar Assad in order to jointly achieve settlement of the Syrian crisis with the Western countries.
“It is time for Russia to withdraw its support for Assad so we can work a political solution to bring some kind of peace to this troubled land,” Bishop told the ABC broadcaster.
The Australian government hopes that the United States will convince Russia to stop supporting Assad, Bishop underlined.
According to Bishop, the United States attack was a “proportionate response,” to allegations that Assad used chemical weapons in the Syrian city of Idlib.
On Sunday, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said that US President Donald Trump is discussing with members of his administration the possibility of introducing sanctions against Russia and Iran for supporting the Syrian government.
The Syrian foreign minister denied the government’s involvement in the Idlib incident, saying it had never nor would it ever use chemical weapons on either civilians or terrorists operating in the country.
The Russian Defense Ministry said on Wednesday that the airstrike near Khan Shaykhun by the Syrian air force hit a terrorist warehouse that stored chemical weapons slated for delivery to Iraq, and called on the UN Security Council to launch a proper investigation into the incident.
Earlier this year, Assad said that the country’s government had never used weapons of mass destruction, including chemical weapons, against the Syrian people. Besides, under a Russian-US deal after the east Ghouta sarin gas incident in 2013, Damascus joined the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and agreed to destroy its stockpile under Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) oversight. In January 2016, the OPCW announced that all chemical weapons in Syria had been destroyed.