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Kremlin comments on French top diplomat's statement on use of sarin gas in Syria

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault's statement about Syrian army using sarin gas is unable to change Russia's position as Moscow stands for an international investigation into this incident, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday.

"No, it can't," Peskov said when asked if Moscow could change its position in light of Ayrault's statement. "The Kremlin and President (Vladimir) Putin still believe that conducting an impartial international investigation is the only way to find out the truth," the Russian presidential spokesman added.

"We still do not understand and express regret as the OPCW (the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) refrains from carrying out such an investigation," Peskov added.

According to him, "there is little doubt that some poisonous substances were used." "However, we believe that it is impossible to draw conclusions on whether who is responsible for the attack without conducting an international investigation," the Kremlin spokesman noted.

Earlier on Wednesday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said that France had information proving that the Syrian air force had delivered six airstrikes in the Idlib Governorate on April 4, when the chemical attack took place there.

Putin's stance on Assad unchanged

Russian President Vladimir Putin's position on the fate of Syrian leader Bashar Assad remains unchanged that only Syrians may decide on whether he should stay in power, Peskov added.

"The position of Russia and President Putin on Assad has been unchanged," Peskov told reporters, commenting on a recent statement of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

In his interview with Reuters, the Turkish leader said Putin told him "I'm not Assad's lawyer." Some media outlets interpreted this as a signal that Moscow's support for the Syrian leader may be reduced.

The Kremlin spokesman noted that Putin said that he is not Assad's lawyer in his earlier interviews and before talks with Erdogan. "While not being a lawyer of Assad, Putin is a lawyer of international law and defender of international law," Peskov stressed.

The Russian leader advocates a position that does not allow taking decisions on the future of any country by third parties or states, he said. "He believes that the future of Syria and the Syrian leader may be neither decided in Ankara, nor in Washington, Paris, Berlin nor Moscow. Syria's self-determination is a matter of the Syrian people."

"President Putin has been consistently supporting this idea," Peskov said. "There are no changes in the approach here.".

[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 26Apr17]

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small logoThis document has been published on 28Apr17 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.