Russia has accused Britain and France of throwing a political wrench in the wheels of a proposal to send United Nations inspectors to investigate the use of chemical weapons in war-torn Syria, which President Barack Obama has said would be a “game changer” and hinted could draw intervention.
“Under continued pressure from certain Western members of the Security Council, the general secretary has not dispatched the experts, and I consider this absolutely unacceptable. It’s an attempt to politicize the issue,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters on Tuesday in Brussels.
Speaking after a meeting with NATO foreign ministers, including U.S. counterpart John Kerry, Lavrov said chemical weapons inspectors should only be allowed to look into specific allegations and not be permitted to operate freely throughout the country, which would be “a little too much.”
Although he didn’t refer to them by name, Lavrov was almost certainly referring to Britain and France, which have pressed for UN inspectors to be allowed to investigate what they say is credible evidence that the government has used chemical weapons in Aleppo, Homs and possibly Damascus.
That position appeared to get a boost on Tuesday, when Israel for the first time accused President Bashar Assad’s forces of likely attacking rebels with sarin, a lethal nerve agent, and less lethal chemicals, a senior Israeli military intelligence officer told a security conference in Tel Aviv.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could not confirm the allegation during a Tuesday morning telephone conversation, Kerry told reporters.
An ongoing Congressional investigation across five House Committees concerning the events surrounding the September 11, 2012, terrorist attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya