Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who hosted his Iranian and Syrian counterparts at Friday's trilateral meeting in Moscow, denounced last week's USA attack on Syria and warned that any further such action would entail "grave consequences not only for regional but global security".
Russia, Iran and Syria want an independent investigation and those opposed to the call "don't have a clear conscience", Lavrov said.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov insisted Friday that inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons should visit both the Syrian air base, which the USA said had served as a platform for the attack, and the area of the attack as soon as possible.
"Within the framework of the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Nations, we will insist on the immediate dispatch of inspectors both to the site of the incident and the airbase where our western colleagues claim missiles were loaded with chemical substances", Lavrov said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, center, stands in the middle as Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem, left, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif shake hands after a shared press conference following their talks focused on Syria in Moscow, Russia, Friday, April 14, 2017.
The attack, believed by investigators in Turkey and elsewhere to have used sarin, killed around 100 civilians and injured some 500 in the opposition-held town of Khan Sheikhun, Idlib. The strikes were in response to a chemical weapons attack that US officials believe was orchestrated by the Syrian government, led by president Bashar al-Assad, that left more than 80 people dead. Putin's military backing of Assad has been crucial in keeping the regime in power after six years of civil war. "Such attempts won't succeed", Lavrov said.
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Lavrov also attacked the chemical weapons watchdog for failing to send experts to Khan Sheikhoun, the village hit by the gas, to investigate.
Lavrov on Friday accused the USA and its allies of what he described as attempts to stymie an global probe into the attack. "Such acts of aggression are obviously meant to derail the peace process, which was endorsed in a unanimously adopted resolution of the U.N. Security Council and implies that the fate of Syria would be decided only by the Syrian people", he said.
Tillerson, visiting Moscow on Wednesday, addressed the issue of the chemical weapons attack but he stopped short of calling it a war crime.
In this June 7, 2016 file photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad addresses the newly-elected parliament in Damascus, Syria.
Diplomats from all three nations condemned the US President for launching airstrikes on a Syrian airbase last week.