Russian FM Lavrov at UN still warns against military force in Syria

In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Friday, Lavrov filled in for his boss, President Vladimir Putin, and continued to warn against a military attack on its ally, Syria. 

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“It is alarming to hear the statements on the right to use military force to ensure one's own interests in the Middle East region under the pretext of the 'remaining demand for leadership' in the international affair,” he told U.N. members.  

“All the recent history testifies that no State — no matter how big or powerful — can cope alone with the challenges of that scope faced by mankind today.”

He was referring to U.S. threats several weeks ago to strike Syria after the Aug. 21 sarin gas attack in the Damascus suburbs that left more than 1,400 dead. Lavrov did not say who carried out that attack, but said the U.N. must investigate all instances in which those weapons were used. Russia has been funneling arms to the Syrian regime. 

U.N. inspectors in Damascus said Friday they will investigate seven reported incidents this year, including three that occurred after Aug. 21. 

On Thursday, the scenario of a military attack became even less likely as the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council agreed on a diplomatic solution. 

Russia, the U.S., France, Britain and China compromised on a resolution requiring Syria to transfer its chemical weapons arsenal to the international community. 

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Lavrov first proposed that plan before meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva, Switzerland, earlier this month to hash out its guidelines. 

The current draft resolution doesn’t contain the authorization to use military force if Syria fails to meet the disarmament requirements. 

Security Council members could vote as early as Friday on the final resolution. 

State Department spokesperson Marie Harf tweeted Friday afternoon that Kerry will participate in a formal meeting of the Security Council at 8 p.m. It’s unclear whether a vote would happen then. 

The Obama administration has pledged not to take the use of force off the table despite its exclusion from the U.N. measure. 

At the U.N., Lavrov called that possibility an extremely dangerous path.

“This happens despite the fact that all the experience of such interventions with the use of force in the recent years has proven that they are ineffective, meaningless and destructive.”