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Moscow, Tehran, Damascus seek on-site investigation

Moscow, Tehran, Damascus seek on-site investigation
Russia, Iran and Syria have proposed an on-site investigation into the use of chemical weapons in Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday.

"We insist on conducting a meticulous, objective and unbiased investigation into the alleged chemical weapon attack by Syrian aircraft on April 4," Lavrov said at a joint conference after talks with his Iranian and Syrian counterparts, Mohammad Javad Zarif and Walid al-Muallem, respectively.

The trio said that the probe should be carried out by a well-balanced team of experts under the auspices of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the UN chemical weapons watchdog, reported Xinhua news agency.

Russia and Iran hailed the readiness of the Syrian government to accept such a mission, Lavrov said.

On April 7, the US launched 59 cruise missiles against a Syrian military airfield in response to the Assad's regime's chemical weapons attack that killed at least 89 people in Syria's Idlib province. Washington blamed the Syrian government for the attack. But Russia said it might have been caused by the explosion of chemical weapons stored by rebels in a local depot during a raid by the Syrian Air Force.

Russia, Iran and Syria unanimously regarded the US missile strikes as an aggression in brutal violation of international law and the UN Charter, Lavrov noted.

"We insist that the US and its allies should respect the sovereignty of Syria and abstain from similar actions," he said.

At the press conference, Syria's Muallem reiterated that his government no longer possesses chemical weapons and the destruction of its previous stockpiles had been confirmed by the OPCW.

"We do not use chemical weapons against terrorists or our own people. We condemn any use of chemical weapons," said the Syrian top diplomat.
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