Moscow/Damascus/Brussels: There was nothing concrete in the proof given by the US about the chemical attacks in Syria, Russia said Monday while a Syrian opposition group called for efforts to find a political solution to the crisis in the country.
At his traditional annual meeting with students and teachers at the MGIMO University or the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the information presented by the US to Russia about use of chemical weapons in Syria "does not contain anything concrete", ITAR-TASS reported.
He said it was strange for him to hear US Secretary of State John Kerry state that the US has presented irrefutable evidence to Russia that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons but the Russians consciously refused to accept the fact.
"As for consciously or unconsciously, we try to do everything consciously, when we recognise a fact or not recognise it," the minister said.
"I would not wish anybody to act unconsciously."
Lavrov said the evidence presented has some layouts but nothing concrete.
"Yes, some layouts were shown to us, which have nothing concrete, no geographic maps, no names. They did not contain proof that the samples were taken by professionals. There were no comments at all on the fact that many experts had serious doubts about the videos, which are shown in the internet," Lavrov noted.
"There are a lot of discrepancies, nonsense. Very much doubt," he added.
John Kerry, speaking on ABC television, said that the US has presented evidence of chemical weapons' use by the Syrian authorities against their own citizens, but Moscow did not believe it.
The National Coordination Body (NCB), a leading Syrian opposition group, said at a press conference in Damascus that the US threat of a military action emanates basically from Washington's own interests and the security of Israel, its main ally in the region, Xinhua reported.
"We believe that the US actions emanate from its own interests and thus the aim of its possible strike against Syria is not to achieve a democratic change in Syria," Rajaa al-Nasser, a leading member of the NCB, told a press conference.
Al-Nasser called for reviving efforts for a political solution in Syria.
The planned conference in Geneva was expected to be attended by representatives from the Syrian government and the opposition groups, and was designed in accordance with the US-Russian efforts to revive political options for resolving the Syrian crisis. The meeting has been put on hold due to various hurdles.
In another development, NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen Monday ruled out the possibility of a NATO role in possible military strikes against Syria but added that the international community should respond to the alleged use of chemical weapons in that country.
"No decision has been made yet as how the international community should react. As regards NATO, I don't envisage any further NATO role... It is for individual nations to decide how to react towards what happened in Syria," Xinhua quoted Rasmussen as saying at his monthly press conference in Brussels.
"We need a firm international response in order to avoid chemical attacks taking place in the future. It would send a very dangerous signal... if we stand idly by and don't react," he stressed.