Russian Envoy Dismisses U.N. Report on Syrian Chemical Weapons as ‘Biased’

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov claims the evidence presented in the 38-page dossier is distorted and 'politicized' by investigators

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Sana / Reuters

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem (R) meets Russian deputy Foreign Minister, Sergei Ryabkov, in Damascus, in this handout photograph distributed by Syria's national news agency SANA on September 17, 2013.

After urging the international community for weeks to patiently wait until U.N. investigators published their report on the use of chemical weapons in Syria, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has slammed the probe’s detailed analysis of the use of sarin poison gas in Damascus as “one-sided” and “politicized”.

After landing in Damascus on Wednesday to meet with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moualem, Ryabkov tore into the U.N.’s independent investigation. The study notably avoided addressing culpability in the Aug. 21 strike, however analysts said the evidence presented in the dossier left little doubt that government troops were behind the chemical weapons atrocity.

(More: Syria’s Rebels Feel Hung Out to Dry by U.S.-Russia Deal)

“We think that the report was distorted, it was one-sided, the basis of information upon which it is built is not sufficient,” Ryabkov told a Russian television network. “In any case, we would need to learn and know more about what happened beyond and above that incident of Aug. 21.”

The Russian envoy said Syrian authorities presented him on Wednesday with new evidence concerning the deployment of chemical weapons in the country; however, the diplomat refused to disclose the nature of the material.

Following the publication of the U.N. report on Monday, Security Council members met in New York on Tuesday and quarreled over a resolution that would allow weapons inspectors to enter Syria, and begin the process of transferring the illicit stockpiles to international custody for destruction by mid-2014, in accordance with a U.S.-Russia deal that was hashed out in Geneva over the weekend.

The primary point of contention centers on leaving a military strike on the table in the event that Assad refuses to comply with the resolution. The U.S.-British-French bloc wants to keep the use of force as an option, while the Russians oppose it.

In Beijing on Wednesday, Jordan’s King Abdullah called on China to play a more diligent role in helping push for a peace plan that would stop the fighting in Syria.

“I am here today to discuss with you, as a key member of the United Nations Security Council and a friend of Jordan and the Middle East, ways and means of achieving peace, stability, civility and prosperity in our region through an active role in the (Israel-Palestine) peace process as well as that of the Syrian conflict,” said Abdullah during a state visit to the country, according to an AP report.

As of mid-July, Jordan was providing an estimated 440,000 Syrian refugees with food and shelter. Earlier this week, Chinese officials said they were prepared to take a more “serious” look at the U.N.’s most recent findings.

(More: U.S. Lauds U.N. Probe on Syria Poison Gas Attack, Russia Denies Culprit Identified)

On the Syrian-Turkish border today, tensions continued to run high after a car bomb exploded killing at least seven people and injuring 20. According to the Guardian, the explosive device was detonated near a checkpoint on the Syrian side of the border at the Bab al-Hawa crossing, which is run by Islamist rebel fighters.

Earlier in the week, Turkish F-16 fighter jets shot down a Syrian helicopter after the craft allegedly crossed into Turkey’s airspace. According to Turkish officials, the helicopter was warned repeatedly to exit the country before it was fired upon.

During a meeting in Paris on Monday Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said he hoped the incident sent a strong message. “No one will have the nerve to violate Turkey’s borders in any way again,” said  Davutoglu.

8 comments
Pathfinder
Pathfinder

First the Russian government sat on their hands and blocked the UN for 2+ years when the whole situation could have been resolved more peacefully. Now it has become more deadly and more unstable until gas has been used, by a regime living in a 40 + year bubble of brutality and repression, just like Hafez Assad and his thugs

Then the Russians say they want to hear through and act through the UN, but when a UN report they call it one sided. The truth usually is. Why are these spoilers even still allowed on the security council, let alone have a veto as a county who sports a Stalin era regressive third world Foreign policy?

The whole idea of having Syrian chemical weapons under International control before destruction is great if the Russians and Syrian government behave responsibly, but you are dealing with two chronically unreliable, brutal governments when it comes to their own people. I honestly don't believe that the Russian government has either a mature or intelligent foreign policy. Its too much based on their own insecurity and perceived hurt feelings like a teenager going through puberty. At best it is rooted in the 1970s. My god, I would love to be wrong!! I take no pleasure in saying this, none whatsoever, and it is not representative of the rank and file Russian people. As one Russian said, we vote them in now, and then they just do what they want. Under these circumstances hoping for a constructive foreign policy despite their desire to dress up and look good is shaky. They depend too heavily on their tailors – style and posturing over substance. The NYT President Putin letter should be seen as nothing more then a public embarrassment in Russia when he talks to the reader as if they were truly gullible simpletons as he outlines an alternate reality in a parallel universe. The Syrian people, and the International people should clearly understand: “Never be afraid to loose something that someone wasn't going to give you anyway”, as it applies to both Syria and Russia. We just look at the Op Ed and say, Oh, “those people” again. Do they actually think others respect them and treat them seriously? I would say its almost comical, but in fact it is sad and this wild manipulation shows little for the future of Russia, other then “more of the same”, and “time to retire” There is no happiness in making this comment either, but it is a searingly honest assessment.

While President Obama's speech was well intentioned and I respect the sincere desire for peace, it fails to truly grasp that Russian foreign policy is based on and rooted in a savage and brutal solution, more at home under Stalin that in the 21st Century and they pour in support for the Syrian regime, while cynically blocking the UN security council for 2+ years and call it the law- their law just like their own extremely warlike military adventures in Georgia in 2008. What law? I believe that the “Russian dinosaur” sees Syria like Chechnya in which they also believe that the Assad government can slaughter and bludgeon their way to victory. No one has identified this as a Russian objective until now, better late than never! This policy only creates more extremists and not even in their own interests: (thanks Russia!). This is the lens these old cold warriors see Syria through and it is truly dangerous and sinister, not to mention grossly irresponsible. While American and international community position and credibility is suffering horribly, Russia's is even worse. They are wilfully tied to Assad, Hezbollah (primates on LSD!) and The Iranian Revolutionary Guard- Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. This is a regime that disposes of 19 old girls in the streets of Tehran like waste, while others rape and murder an Iranian Canadian Journalist in prison, no less and then conduct a shame investigation that does nothing but protect wild, rabid homicidal animals. It is pure blasphemy for this “so called religious dictatorship" to try to “tie their waggons” to a great and tolerant religion such as Islam.

If we want to debate and talk at the UN, how about talking usefully about how, in a post Assad government, the mistakes of Iraq are avoided so minorities don't face discrimination and retribution? This would be a very useful exercise for the UN, Assad or no Assad, to put a lot of bright minds together, unless of course some are looking to discriminate and want retribution? Why such silence or is no one thinking ahead? Maybe President Putin could write another more useful Op Ed on this topic?. How about transforming and using the lessons of Iraq for something actually useful and constructive, rather than as excuses for sitting on our hands for 2 + years while things get worse and more extreme? Anyone? Anyone? How do we do that? By the way, the longer this 2+ year mess is allowed to Fester and bleed, the harder things are going to be to accomplish and the more radical some will become or even others forced to become. Warfare is a form of human insanity`` in the words of the late Gen Norman Schwarzkopf However, that doesn't mean we sit back and do nothing as we have done for 2 + years, only making a bad situation worse with a Russian paralysed UN security council according to “Russian Law”. Solution? Start planning now, since we are so bloody clever and have all of the answers as the International community sits on our hands as we did in the 1930s, and paid for in in the 1940s.

I am deeply worried that instead of controlling the Chemical Weapons, the Russians and Syrian's will bungle and miss mange the whole matter while playing cynical, and brutal politics. Frankly and sadly I would have more confidence in two retarded children sitting right in the middle of a huge crate of hand grenades with no safety clips and just waiting for one of them to pull one of the pins. Lovely, just bloody lovely when some of these chemical weapons show up in an Eastern or Western Capital. The more we wait after 2+ years of being asleep and or being “hopeful”, the MORE EXTREME and UNSTABLE the whole tragic mess becomes (French Philosopher Bernard Henri Levy spelled it out perfectly on CNN's GPS with Fareed Zakaria on Sunday 11th Sept 2013) Without this, my practical cynical take is that now that humanity has solved so many problems to increase and save life, perhaps this is the new way to limit population growth by slaughtering large segments of our own species en masse?? For example rabbits do this in 7 year disease cycle to deal with population growth. Maybe we are just “simple Bunnies”? The catalyst or trigger in this case will be Russian bungling combined with cynical, brutal politics (I guess its OK when its someone else's children, eh?). For the love of God and the future of our truly fragile species, please prove me wrong! 

sridhar.sid
sridhar.sid

Score card reads: Russia: 1, US:0! A deeply biassed Obama, who wanted a regime change two years ago and Petro dollars from the Saudis has funded a bunch of thughs, who could use any means to draw the big powere to oust Assad. The world knows that allegations of CMD use by Assad were very suspect and at every News Conference, neither Kerry nor Obama, came across credible