France - Syria - Russia

France slams Russian claim of UN Syria report's bias

French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius with Russia's Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Tuesday
French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius with Russia's Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Tuesday Reuters/Maxim Shemetov

France has dismissed Russia's claim that the UN report on the use of chemical weapons in Syria is biased. French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius on Wednesday said that France's spies have backed up the the UN weapons inspectors' report, which was published on Monday.

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Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on Wednesday slammed the inspectors' report as "politicised, biased and one-sided".

Bashar al-Assad's government had given Russia evidence implicating anti-government rebels in the 21 August chemical weapons attack in Damascus, he said.

France, along with the US and Britain, has blamed the attack on the regime.

Ryabkov said the UN report had ignored other incidents of chemical weapons use but, speaking after a meeting with his Spanish counterpart, José Manuel García-Margallo, Fabius insisted that the report cannot be contested.

"This is calling into question not the report, but the inspectors, and their objectivity," he said. "I think that no one can question the objectivity of people who were designated by the United Nations. As the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon - who is an objective man – this is a damning report, which confirms all the points brought to light in the reports from our own secret services."

France refused to back the US-led invasion of Iraq because the French secret services said there were no weapons of mass destruction there, Fabius pointed out, but this time they blame Assad's regime for the chemical weapons attack.

"This same objectivity, and precision displayed by the French Secret Services can be seen again today," the foreign affairs minister said.

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