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Russia slams U.S. for ‘whitewashing’ terrorism in Syria

(Xinhua)

08:59, July 26, 2012

MOSCOW, July 25 (Xinhua) -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday that the U.S. position over the Damascus bombing that killed several top Syrian officials was "a direct whitewashing of terrorism."

The comment was made in response to U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland's remarks that the attacks on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's top officials were "not surprising."

"This is a direct justification of terrorism. How should one understand that?" Lavrov told reporters.

In a July 18 suicide bombing attack, Syrian Defense Minister Dawood Rajha was killed along with three other senior officials, including Rajha's deputy, Assef Shawkat, who was also al-Assad's brother-in-law.

The Russian top diplomat said he was surprised that the U.N. Security Council failed to condemn the attack, which Moscow termed as an "act of terror" and demanded the arrest and punishment of those responsible.

He also criticized Susan Rice, the U.S. envoy to the UN, who said that the Damascus bombing called for enforcement of the UN Charter chapter that sanctions the use of force.

"This is a terrible position, all in all. I can't even find words to express our attitude to that," Lavrov said.

Last week, Russia and China vetoed another Western-proposed draft resolution that threatened non-military sanctions if Syria failed to withdraw troops and heavy weapons from populated areas.

Lavrov said that, according to information available, Syrian opposition groups linked to al-Qaeda have seized several checkpoints on the border with Turkey and looted Turkish property.

"We double-check it now. If the seizure of territories is being supported by our partners, we'd like to demand an answer: What is their position on Syria, and what they attain in that country, in the end of the day," Lavrov said.

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