30 Aug 2018 09:44

Russia calls on U.S. to provide facts being used to 'fuel' topic of Damascus' chemical arms use - Antonov

WASHINGTON. Aug 30 (Interfax) - Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov, speaking at a meeting with U.S. Special Representative for Syria Engagement James Jeffrey and Acting Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs David Satterfield, called for facts being used to "further fuel" the topic of alleged chemical weapons use by Damascus to be provided.

"The main thing is that we expressed our concerns about American signals of preparing new strikes on Syria on the pretext of possible use of "chemical weapons" by Syrians. We stressed that such a prospect is of grave concern for us. We called Washington to provide undelayed facts on the reasons why the topic with the use of chemical weapons by Damascus is further fueled," Antonov said in a statement.

According to Antonov, he said at the meeting with the State Department officials that such rhetoric by the U.S. side could be seen by different terrorist groups and pseudo-humanitarian organizations, like the White Helmets, as a signal to arrange another staged provocation.

"We warned the US not to engage in another baseless and unlawful aggression against Syria. The new aggravation in Syria would not be in anyone's national interest and only terrorist would benefit from it," he said.

"We expect our concerns to be heard," he said.

"We hope that the US will take all possible efforts to prevent the use of toxic agents by terrorists and will act responsibly, like a permanent member of the UN Security Council," Antonov said.

The meeting with Satterfield was held at Russia's initiative, the ambassador said, thanking Satterfield and his colleagues for promptly responding to the Russian side's request and for the opportunity on Monday to discuss in detail all issues related to the situation in Syria.

Antonov described the meeting as constructive, relevant, and professional.