Nebenzya posed questions to OPCW head at UNSC on Syria

08 February 2023


Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya asked Director-General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Fernando Arias at a meeting of the world organization's Security Council on what grounds the principle of evidence collection is violated when investigating incidents with chemical weapons in Syria. Arias was videoconferencing a report Tuesday on Syria's alleged responsibility for the April 2018 chemical weapons incident in the city of Douma.

"Let me remind you, Mr. Arias, of our questions. First of all, we asked you to answer on what basis the Fact-Finding Mission and the illegitimate Panel of Inquiry violate the fundamental principle of gathering and preserving evidence? What is your motivation, Mr. Arias, in signing documents whose conclusions are based on information received from a third party? For example, from the White Helmets, who do not hide their bias," said Nebenzya. - "Has the OPCW Technical Secretariat changed its working principles? The provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention itself are no longer guiding it?"

"Back in 2013, the UN Mission of Inquiry into incidents in Syria explicitly wrote in its report that 'independent verification of information on the use of chemical weapons is impossible in the absence of data on its means of delivery and biometric samples collected and analyzed in accordance with the principle of evidence collection and preservation,'" the diplomat noted. - "Now the organization, in fact, freely operates with information from open sources and third parties. Evidence of this or that incident, apparently, can now be sent almost by mail or anonymously. After all, if they fit into the right narrative, they will be considered 'reasonable grounds' to draw one conclusion or another."

"Mr. Arias, we would still like to hear from you intelligible answers about the ugly scandal that occurred during the preparation of the report of the Fact-Finding Mission on the Douma incident, the final version of which was simply rewritten under pressure from Western countries, in particular with regard to chemical, toxicological and ballistic tests and witness testimony," said the Russian permanent representative.

According to him, the report of the OPCW Group ignores scientific, logical and cause-and-effect links. Nebenzya noted that the incident in the town of Douma became for the UN Security Council "something like a test tube, which former Secretary of State Colin Powell waved in these walls exactly 20 years ago."



GSV "Russia - Islamic world"

Photo: Zuma\TASS

Based on materials from TASS