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Russia warns US of another ‘Iraq mistake’
June 15, 2013, 6:04 am

Powell's allegations of Iraqi WMD turned out to be unfounded [Getty Images]

Powell’s allegations of Iraqi stockpiles of WMD turned out to be unfounded [Getty Images]

Russia warned the US Friday of promoting “unconvincing” data on Syria’s alleged chemical weapons use, and thereby repeating the same errors in the build-up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

“What was presented by the Americans does not look convincing to us,” the Kremlin’s top foreign policy adviser Yury Ushakov told reporters.

“I would not want to make any parallels, I would not want to believe that this data can be similar to the situation with the vial that (US) secretary of state Colin Powell brandished at the famous Security Council meeting.”

Ushakov was referring to a UN Security Council meeting in February 2003 at which Powell held up a vial that he said could contain anthrax as he presented cartoon drawings as evidence of Iraq’s alleged arms programmes.

Those weapons, cited by George W. Bush’s administration as the main motive for launching the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, never surfaced after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s government.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that US military aid to Syrian rebels may lead to further escalation of violence in the country, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday.

Lavrov had a phone conversation with US Secretary of State John Kerry earlier in the day. The two top diplomats discussed “situation in Syria in the context of Washington’s plans to render military aid to the Syrian opposition,” the ministry said.

“Lavrov stressed that such a move could further escalate tensions in the region, while US accusations of chemical weapons use by Damascus are not supported by reliable facts,” the statement reads.

The US said Thursday it will provide military support to the Syrian rebels after it confirms the evidence Syrian government forces have used nerve gas against rebel groups. The Syrian government strongly denied the accusations.

RIA Novosti and Agencies