For the Forthcoming Second Part of the CSP-25

1. The anti-Syrian decision

As we all know at its Ninety-Fourth Session, the Executive Council adopted a decision entitled “Addressing the Possession and Use of Chemical Weapons by the Syrian Arab Republic”. Now we have to consider a corresponding draft decision proposed by a number of countries.

The work of the attribution team of the Technical Secretariat - the IIT – was a prerequisite for such a draft. This illegitimate structure was created outside the mandate of the OPCW, with its powers going beyond the scope of the Convention and disturbing the exclusive competence of the UN Security Council.

We all understand very well that those States Parties that ensured and eventually pushed through the establishment of such a mechanism did not set the goal of conducting honest and impartial investigations into episodes of the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria. Instead the main purpose was to deliver and stamp convictions against the Syrian authorities.

Moreover we now face the situation when the draft decision has been introduced to the agenda of the CSP without proper discussion at the Executive Council level. It contradicts the procedure provided for in paragraph 35 of Article VIII of the Chemical Convention with regard to the alleged non-compliance by the state party with its obligations under the CWC.

In the recent years we all have been noting how the work within the framework of the Syrian "chemical dossier" has been carried out. Damascus' unprecedented openness to cooperation with the Secretariat, its desire, due to the available opportunities, to look for ways to resolve even the most difficult issues are simply not taken into account. Instead, we are witnessing constant pressure and aggravation of the situation from those States Parties that, in order to push their own geopolitical ambitions, continue to blame the Syrian authorities for all mortal sins.

The special missions formed within the Secretariat and, of course, the IIT have also played a great deal in this unfortunate case. We have no doubt that these teams include unbiased professionals who consider it their main obligation and task to honestly fulfill their duties. However, as we can see, a good piece of example of that is the FFM report on Douma events, all the well-founded conclusions and judgments of these experts are swept under the carpet, and the official conclusion is fitted to the picture (however inexplicable from a technical and scientific point of view), beneficial to the group of countries that leaves no hope of demonizing and removing the Syrian leadership from power.

We constantly hear from the same State Parties the statements that Damascus has hid and still possesses some reserves of chemical weapons. But in reality we see a completely different picture. The Declaration Assessment Team (DAT) has never indicated anything like this in their reports. The only thing we can talk about is the undeclared past activity, in respect of which a number of questions have arisen. They are being discussed and some of them solved as we all have noticed in the recent months.

As for the work of the IIT, and its first report on the events in Al-Lataminah, which provoked the decision under discussion today I’d like to state the following. To what extent can we rely on the conclusions of this mechanism when we know that it has no chemists or experts in the field of chemical weapons, ammunition, ballistics or engineering? The Group relies entirely on the findings of the FFM in its work, as well as on the assessments of dubious “independent” experts, whose names we do not know and cannot judge their competence.

The investigation into what happened in Al-Lataminah is based on the results of a very controversial report by the FFM, which acted remotely without observing any chain of custody. Long after the incident they have received minimal material evidence, moreover, from the hands of groups opposing Damascus. And now we are faced with the decision that is based on the conclusion “there are reasonable grounds to believe”! Unfortunately, lately in the OPCW we are often faced with double standards. Different rules apply to different member states. In case of Syria it has become very evident.

A "magnificent" scheme has been created to discredit unwanted countries. With the help of lured and financed NGOs, as well as pseudo-humanitarian organizations - there is no need to look far for an example, take the same White Helmets - all sorts of provocations are organized, staged campaigns are carried out, which are also promoted and supported by international corporate mass-media. Preconceived conclusions are imposed on us, we are asked to take our word for it. Doesn't anyone doubt this? After all, it turns out that the OPCW, which in its essence is a technical body, has turned into an instrument for the implementation of selfish geopolitical interests by countries that have influence on the leadership of the Secretariat.  

In this regard, we hope that delegations will make a balanced and correct choice in how they vote on this draft. We call on everyone to be fully aware of what we are being asked to approve today. We again draw attention to the fact that Syria's defeat in rights is in no way capable of prompting Damascus to strengthen cooperation with the Organization.

If the document is approved, this will undoubtedly become a very bad precedent and will further exacerbate the already existing split in the OPCW. The essentially political decision so zealously imposed by individual countries will not only significantly alienate us from the goal of universalizing the Convention, but will also have a most negative impact on the prospects for the non-proliferation regime and global disarmament.

2. External Auditor of the OPCW

Mr. Aleksei Kudrin has a vast experience in the financial and economic spheres and a recognized international authority. The Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation possesses a wide range of tools, has developed innovative technological solutions that allow it to perform audits, flexibly adjust them to the needs and objectives of the OPCW, insure the maximum level of security and confidentiality while processing large amounts of data and guarantee an appropriate level of audit quality within the stipulated deadlines.

The Accounts Chamber’s experience of working as an External Auditor for the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) as well as current chairmanship in the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) made it possible for the Russian supreme audit body to develop an effective methodology that combines remote and on-site work when auditing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Such an approach, which has already proven to be effective, paves the way for a decrease of yearly expenditures of the Russian Accounts Chamber on its auditing activities while keeping the same volume and frequency of audit.