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US refuses to call Russian embassy shelling in Syria terrorist attack — Lavrov

October 14, 2015, 13:45 UTC+3
The US partners proposed another wording saying that they "condemn the shelling and confirm that the hosting side or the Syrian government is responsible for security of embassies and consulates"
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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

© TASS/Artiom Korotaev

MOSCOW, October 14. /TASS/. The US has refused to back the UN Security Council statement condemning the shelling of Russia’s embassy in Damascus as a terrorist attack, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has told Russia’s lower house of parliament.

The Russian embassy in Damascus came under mortar shelling on Tuesday morning. The embassy’s residential house was hit by two shells. No one was killed or wounded.

"We always adopt in the UN Security Council a brief condemning statement of such terrorist attacks," Lavrov said. The US colleagues refused to support the wording of a text circulated by Russia "that classified the accident as a terrorist attack."

The US partners proposed another wording saying that they "condemn the shelling and confirm that the hosting side or the Syrian government is responsible for security of embassies and consulates," Lavrov said.

"It is sad that our American colleagues in this case in fact do not side with those who fight against terrorism and condemn terror. Once again we have to speak about double standards," he stressed.

US refuses to receive Russian delegation to discuss Syria

The minister also said that Washington has informed Moscow the US will not be able to receive a top-level Russian delegation to discuss the Syrian crisis resolution.

"We’ve made Americans the proposal announced by President Vladimir Putin yesterday. We suggested that they send a [US] military delegation to Moscow to coordinate a number of joint steps, and after that we could have sent to Washington a top-level delegation led by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev," Lavrov said addressing the Russian State Duma.

He said the proposal had been made at the United Nations in late September.

Lavrov said the US side was ready "to coordinate measure to prevent air accidents in the crisis region."

"Today we got a reply that they cannot send a delegation to Moscow and receive a [Russian] delegation in Washington," he said. "American colleagues are interested only in steps that could help avoid such accidents."

The minister added that the US refusal to cooperate to destroy the Islamic State terrorists raised certain concerns.

Russia received no requests from other countries to use aerospace force to fight IS

According to the top diplomat, Russia has not received any new requests from other countries for using its aerospace forces in the struggle against the Islamic State.

"There have been no formal requests," Lavrov said. "If there are any, decisions will be made by the supreme commander-in-chief with the Defense Ministry taking part as a professional agency."

"It is most important for us not to see where else we might help, but to form a common front," Lavrov said. "Neither we nor the Americans will succeed in fighting terrorism on our own."

The scale of the threat as it is, it is worth borrowing from the experience of the anti-Hitler coalition, he believes.

"Everything else, all other contradictions must be brushed aside," Lavrov said.

Russia-US joint anti-IS effort requires laying cards on table

Russia’s agreement with the United States on military-technical measures to prevent incidents in the air in Syria will take effect in the coming days.

"The agreement, which has actually been made, on the military-technical measures to prevent air incidents - it is welcome, it should take effect any day now, I hope that the details for coordinating all the aspects will be clarified today," Sergey Lavrov said addressing the Russian lawmakers. "And then we are ready to negotiate, laying cards on the table: where are the terrorists in their view, and where are the terrorists in our view. I am sure that if we work honestly, these views will coincide."

"We should begin with showing our cards both in the literal and figurative sense," the minister said. "And then demonstrate through deeds the common declarations about the need of fighting against terrorists. I see no reason why we wouldn’t sit down and talk."

"Perhaps, the West thinks - let the Islamic State and [Syrian President Bashar] Assad exhaust each other," he said. "But I wouldn’t want to think that our Western colleagues are guided by such ‘unpretentious’ logic."

Previously, Lavrov said that airstrikes of the Russian Air Force in Syria are surgical and target only the positions of the Islamic State group, Moscow has no information on civilian casualties. "You have heard the speech of John Kerry and other colleagues today at the meeting of the UN Security Council, this stance boils down to the following: if Russia really helps to fight with Islamic State, this is hailed. Let’s agree on how to avoid unintentional incidents, since the coalition’s aviation is also working in the skies over Syria," Lavrov said.

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