Evidence of chemical weapons use in Syria should not be kept secret - Lavrov
"If there truly is top secret information available, the veil should be lifted. This is a question of war and peace. To continue this game of secrecy is simply inappropriate."
Samples collected by first responders after the Aug. 21 chemical attack in a Damascus suburb have tested positive for the Sarin nerve agent, US Secretary of State John Kerry told US media as he sought build support for a military strike. No knowledge of who was behind it has yet come to light.
"Yes, we were shown certain pieces of evidence that did not contain anything concrete - neither geographical locations, nor names, nor evidence that samples had been taken by professionals. Nor did they comment on the fact that numerous experts have serious doubts regarding the video footage circulating on the Internet," Lavrov said at the Moscow Foreign Relations University (MGIMO) on Monday.
"There are plenty of contradictions and oddities, if we are speaking of footage of chemical weapons use and the condition of the victims," he said. "What we were shown before and recently by our American partners, as well as by the British and French, does not convince us at all," he said.
"There are no facts, there is simply talk about what we definitely know. But when you ask for more detailed evidence, they say that it is all classified, therefore it cannot be shown to us. This means there are no such facts to encourage international cooperation," the minister added.
Minister Lavrov has called the information provided to Russia by the US 'inconclusive'.
"We were shown some sketches, but there was nothing concrete, no geographical coordinates or details... and no proof the test was done by professionals... there were no comments anywhere regarding the experts' doubt about the footage circulating all over the internet," Lavrov said.
He added that "what our American, British and French partners have shown us before - as well as now - does not convince us at all. There are no supporting facts, there is only repetitive talk in the vein of "we know for sure". And when we ask for further clarification, we receive the following response: 'You are aware that this is classified information, therefore we cannot show it to you.' So, there are still no facts".
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he doubts that the Syrian opposition will be finally talked into joining the Geneva-2 conference if a military strike is dealt against the Syrian regime.
"Of course, we regret that our American partners have not yet managed to persuade the Syrian opposition to accept Moscow and Washington's initiative. I don't think the opposition will become any more flexible if the threat of using force against Syria is implemented as punishment for what is perceived as the use of chemical weapons," he told students of the Moscow State Institute of International Affairs (MGIMO).
"We need to track down who has done this. Experts must have their say and refer the evidence to the UN Security Council," Lavrov said.
He said that, "the declaration adopted at the Loch Erne G8 summit says in the Syria section that the G8 rejects the use of chemical weapons by any party, while reports about the use of chemical weapons must be professionally investigated and the results referred to the UN Security Council."
Russia is totally unconvinced by the evidence presented by the United States and its allies of an alleged chemical attack outside Damascus that the West says was perpetrated by the regime, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday.
"What we were shown before and most recently by our American partners as well the British and the French absolutely does not convince us," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a university lecture, adding there were "many doubts" about images of the alleged attack posted on the Internet.
According to the diplomat, Russia and China advocate solely negotiated solution with regard to Syria and Iran.
Russia and China are unanimous in their belief that the Syrian crisis must be settled exclusively through negotiations, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
"Russia and China are firm in pursuing the same principle in dealing with all issues, including the Syrian problem, Iran's nuclear problem and the nuclear problem of the Korean Peninsula, and we advocate solutions based exclusively on negotiations," he said at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) on Monday.
Voice of Russia, Interfax, RT, AFP