* U.N. resolution should have limited purpose - Russia
* Accuses U.N. investigators of slighting evidence
* Russia opposes military intervention in Syria
By Steve Gutterman
MOSCOW, Sept 18 Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister
Sergei Ryabkov said on Wednesday an initial U.N. Security
Council resolution supporting a deal for Syria to scrap its
chemical arms should be limited to that purpose, suggesting
Moscow would oppose any threat of force.
Speaking in Damascus after meeting Syrian President Bashar
al-Assad, Ryabkov also kept up Russian criticism of a report by
U.N. investigators on a poison gas attack in the suburbs of
Damascus on Aug. 21.
Western governments say the U.N. report confirmed Assad's
forces were behind the attack, which led the United States to
threaten punitive military strikes before Washington and Moscow
reached a deal for Syria to abandon its chemical arms.
Russia says it suspects rebels staged the attack to provoke
military intervention, and Ryabkov accused the investigators of
all but ignoring evidence presented by the Syrian government
that he said supported rebel culpability.
"We are disappointed that there is no due attention paid to
this evidence in the report which the (U.N.) group presented in
New York earlier this week," he told reporters in Damascus in
"One cannot be as one-sided and as flawed as we have seen,
laying the full (blame for the) incident in Ghouta upon the
Syrian government," he said, referring to Western nations'
interpretation of the report on the Aug. 21 attack.
He said the report was limited in scope and reiterated
Russian calls for further investigation that would include
accounts from sources such as the Internet and government
evidence of alleged chemical arms use in the days after Aug. 21.
The U.S.-Russia deal, reached on Saturday, calls for Syria
to account fully for its chemical weapons within a week and for
the removal and destruction of the entire arsenal by mid-2014.
Diplomats from the permanent U.N. Security Council members -
Russia, the United States, Britain, France and China - began
talks on Tuesday on a resolution intended to support the deal.
Diplomats have said initial Western drafts called for giving
Syria an ultimatum to give up its chemical weapons or face
Ryabkov said the resolution should support an expected
decision by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical
Weapons' Executive Council setting out procedures for dealing
with the chemical weapons "and nothing more than that" beyond
providing an element of security for OPCW activity in Syria.