US officials admit that Russia or Syria trying to destroy evidence of a chemical attack, which Moscow denies
The United States accused Russia that it prevents the access of international inspectors to the site of the alleged gas attack in Syria, and said that the Russian or the Syrian side may be trying to destroy evidence of the attack.
Moscow rejected the accusations, saying that the delays are due to Saturday’s missile strikes of the three countries headed by the USA on Syria.
The inspectors of the Organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons (OPCW) last week went to Syria for inspection, but has not yet received access to the city Duma, which after the departure of rebels under the control of the government.
“We understand that the Russians are perhaps already visited the site of the attack,” said U.S. representative Kenneth ward at a meeting of the OPCW in the Hague on Monday.
“We are concerned that they may try to destroy evidence to hinder the work of the OPCW mission to establish facts to conduct an effective investigation,” he said.
The text of his speech at the closed session was available to Reuters.
“Continuing to cover the use by Assad of chemical weapons, the Russian Federation became not only a moral accomplice, but also gave the international Convention on the prohibition of chemical weapons and the Resolution 2118 of the UN security Council,” – said ward.
The Minister of foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov in an interview with BBC said that he could guarantee that Moscow did not strip at the alleged attack.
The British delegation to the OPCW has also accused Russia and the Assad government in preventing the arrival of the inspectors in the Duma.
“Unhindered access is of great importance, – reads the statement of delegation. – Russia and Syria must cooperate with the inspectors”.
Experts intend to collect samples, to interview witnesses and document evidence to determine whether there has been the use of banned chemical munitions. While their competence is not part of the establishment responsible for the attack.
The representative of great Britain Peter Wilson said in the Hague that the UN agreed to send inspectors, but they have not got to the Duma, because Syria and Russia are unable to guarantee their safety.
The representative of the Russian Ministry of defense later said that the OPCW experts will go to the Duma on Wednesday.