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Russia urges U.S. to await Syria inspection findings

Published August 26, 2013 9:30 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Moscow • Russia urged the U.S. and its allies Sunday to await the findings of a U.N. inspection team expected to visit the site of an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria and to avoid military action.

Moscow also welcomed Syria's decision to allow international experts to examine the area in a Damascus suburb where at least 100 people died in the suspected attack. Syrian and U.N. officials are working to finalize the timing of the visit.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said all countries should wait for the results of the investigation and he encouraged other countries to "show prudence and avoid tragic mistakes" by rushing to a conclusion about the incident.

France has said evidence suggests Syrian forces used chemical weapons.

"Our American and European partners must understand what catastrophic consequences this kind of politics would have for the region, for the Arab and Islamic world as a whole," Lukashevich said, advising the U.S. and its allies against taking a "gamble" and using unilateral force in Syria.

British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande discussed the situation in a telephone call Sunday morning.

"They agreed that a chemical weapons attack against the Syrian people on the scale that was emerging demanded a firm response from the international community," a British government spokesman said on condition of anonymity. "This crime must not be swept under the carpet."

In Paris, Hollande said a "body of evidence" suggests that chemical weapons were used during attacks on a Damascus suburb that killed hundreds, and that Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime was most likely behind it.

In a statement from his office, Hollande said "everything" leads France to believe the regime was behind the attack.