00:43 GMT07 June 2020
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    The fact that the United States confirmed its approach of there being no alternative to political resolution to the Syrian crisis is encouraging, despite recent negative events, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Lavrov also said that during a Moscow meeting on April 12 with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson the sides reached a common understanding that the US provocative missile strike against Syria should not take place again.

    "I want to emphasize the extremely provocative role of the US missile strike at the Shayrat airfield."

    "We spoke in great detail about this situation with the US Secretary of State and agreed that this should not happen again, and we will insist on an independent objective investigation by the OPCW with additional experts," Lavrov added.

    "The fact [US State Secretary] Rex Tillerson confirmed yesterday such approach of favoring there being no alternative to political process, despite all negative events of recent days, gives certain hope," Lavrov said at a meeting with his Syrian counterpart Walid Muallem.

    On Tuesday and Wednesday, Tillerson visited Moscow for the first time after his appointment as US state secretary. Tillerson held a meeting with Lavrov and then a joint meeting with President Vladimir Putin, which lasted for about two hours.

    Both sides said that the talks were constructive, as they had managed to inform each other of their views on bilateral relations and major international problems. Lavrov, in particular, said that Moscow saw a readiness on behalf of the United States to support an international investigation of the April 4 events in Idlib.

    Not everyone is pleased about the progress in the Syrian reconciliation which was reached by the efforts of Russia, Iran, Turkey, the Syrian government, as well as the United States

    "The progress which we managed to achieve together with our Turkish, Iranian partners, with the Syrian government with the support of Kazakhstan. And, by the way, with participation of the United States as an observer of the Astana format. This progress is not pleasing to everyone."

    "It is principally important to not succumb to provocations, amid the hysteria unleashed in the West, and not allow to destroy the efforts within the framework of the Astana process and the Geneva process," he noted.

    The Russian official spoke of the attempts to derail the Syrian ceasefire, and noted the provocative role of the US missile strike against Syria.

    "Attempts are underway to undermine the ceasefire, which was agreed upon in Astana and which was welcomed in the UN Security Council. And, of course, I cannot but emphasize once again the extremely provocative role played by the strike of the coalition led by the United States on the Syrian military airfield," Lavrov stressed.

    Russia believes that Damascus acted correctly and responsibly by deciding to invite experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to investigate the alleged chemical attack in Syria's Idlib province, Lavrov said.

    "I consider the invitation of OPCW inspectors to conduct the investigation as a very correct and responsible step of the Syrian government."

    Early April 7, the United States launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Syrian military airfield in Ash Sha’irat, located about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the city of Homs. US President Donald Trump said the attack was a response to the alleged chemical weapon use in Syria's Idlib on Tuesday, which Washington blames on the Syrian government. Russia described the attack as an aggression against a sovereign state.

    Syrian opposition claimed Tuesday forces loyal to President Bashar Assad had used a chemical gas on people in the northwestern province, killing nearly 80 and injuring 200. Assad argued his government has no chemical weapons after agreeing to have them destroyed in 2013. He also ruled out having used chemicals against own people.


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