Russian MFA: the reputation of the OPCW was sacrificed to US ambitions

23 April 2020

The reputation of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) as an authoritative expert body in the field of chemical weapons is actually sacrificed to the geopolitical ambitions of the United States and its allies in the Middle East, the message of the Russian Foreign Ministry reads.

On April 8, the OPCW published a report on the investigation of chemical attacks in Syria in 2017. According to the investigation team's findings, airstrikes in Hama province using chlorine and sarin shells were carried out by the Syrian air force.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry said the report contains fake and fabricated conclusions aimed at distorting the facts and accusing the Syrian authorities. In Damascus, they stressed that the SAR troops have never used chemical weapons.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also said that the report was commissioned and under political pressure from Western countries.

"We reiterate the illegality of decisions on the establishment of the IIG (Investigation and Identification Group) under the OPCW and its funding from the organization's regular budget. Such decisions were taken in violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). The activities of this quasi-Prosecutor's structure, whose staff is dominated by representatives of Western countries, encroach on the exclusive powers of the UN Security Council and are aimed at solving odious political tasks to discredit the legally elected authorities of Syria. Russia does not intend to cooperate with the IIG or finance its activities," the message reads.

A clear indication of the biased nature of the IIG report, as stressed by the Russian Foreign Ministry, was the fact that a day before its official publication in Guardian, an article appeared that the OPCW document identified the Syrian government as responsible for conducting chemical attacks.

"A question arises: how and on what basis did the Western media get access to this closed information before it became available to the OPCW member states? I would like to get clarification on this matter from the leadership of the OPCW Technical Secretariat," Zakharova added.

The IIG report will be thoroughly studied in Russia at the expert level.

"The IIG does not even hide its task: this structure is intended to assist not only the governing bodies of the OPCW, but also "courts and tribunals at the national, regional or international level", including the notorious so-called international impartial and independent mechanism for investigating crimes in Syria. This is another gross violation of the provisions of the CWC and in fact leads to the reformatting of the OPCW as an instrument of political pressure from the United States and its allies on governments they do not like. As a result, we regret to state that the reputation of the OPCW as an authoritative expert body in the field of chemical weapons has actually been sacrificed to the geopolitical ambitions of this group of countries in the Middle East," the message of the Russian MFA stressed.


GSV "Russia - Islamic World"

Photo: OPCW official website