France and the United States have not yet provided exhaustive data from their intelligence services to Moscow proving that chemical weapons were used by the Bashar al-Assad regime; the data submitted were not convincing, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
"France and the United States did not conceal that they needed no reports at all [from UN experts on the chemical weapon incident near Damascus on August 21]. They said long before a report was drawn up that they had known the truth all along and that their intelligence was impeccable, although they have not provided a complete account to this day," he said in an interview with the Sunday Time (Voskresnoye Vremya) program on Channel One, broadcast for Russia's Far East.
"What they have shown us does not convince one that this episode is connected with the use of chemical weapons," the Russian foreign minister said. He said the accounts provided by eyewitnesses - nuns from a Christian convent, journalists who talked with Syrian rebels, and CIA and Pentagon veterans - refute claims that the regime was responsible for the August 21 incident.
"Therefore, I was not surprised that a report by experts who did not make conclusions about who used the weapons, but only described the chemical agents and ammunition found, was instantly caught by the United States, France and other countries as proof allegedly confirming the regime's guilt," he said. "Such an approach is politicized and ideology-tinged rather than scientifically acceptable, or professional," Lavrov said.
All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.