Washington should present evidence to prove its accusations against Moscow and Damascus of preventing experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) from gaining access to the alleged chemical weapons attack site in the Syrian town of Douma, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a press conference on Friday, TASS reports.
"As for yesterday’s statement, which said that the US has evidence to prove that Russia and Syria were delaying OPCW experts from gaining access to the town of Douma - if they really have it, let them present it," Lavrov said. "We have more than once presented the evidence that we have, including pictures and people’s interviews. As for our counterparts, we have only heard allegations about evidence, be it the alleged Douma incident or the Salisbury incident," the Russian top diplomat added.
Lavrov pointed out that a similar situation took place following the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria’s Khan Shaykhun, when the US and Great Britain cited classified information declining to clarify how they had acquired samples of the chemical substance allegedly used in the attack. "So put the facts on the table and then we will be able to hold some kind of a professional conversation," Lavrov said, adding that "if only groundless allegations remain, then they will eventually make it into a compilation dubbed Highly Likely, and that will be the end of it," the Russian foreign minister noted.
He went on to say that everyone could see clearly who actually was preventing OPCW experts from going to Douma. "The Americans requested we assist their experts in visiting the town of Douma and we agreed. While talking to our French colleagues, we asked them to send their representatives and they said it was a good idea. However, neither Washington nor Paris took any further steps. They carried out missile strikes instead of sending a joint OPCW mission to Syria to find out what had or had not happened there," Lavrov said.