Statement by H.E. Ambassador A.V. Shulgin at the 83-rd session of the Executive Council (on the results of the vote on the draft decision on Syria) - P.R. OF RUSSIA TO THE OPCW
Permanent Representation of the Russian Federation to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is working in The Hague (the Kingdom of the Netherlands) on a permanent basis. It is involved in consultation with the Technical Secretariat of the OPCW, other delegations, and on behalf of the Russian Federation participates in the activities conducted by Organization, and provides connection between Technical Secretariat and Russian National Authority (Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia) responsible for implementing the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction.
Sessions of policy-making organs of the OPCW are held on a regular basis throughout the year: there are three sessions of the Executive Council and one session of Conference of the State-Parties at the end of a year. Russian Permanent Representation to the OPCW informs Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia about developments in discussions on current issues during informal consultations conducted in the intercessional period and supports Russian delegations which come to take part in the work of the policy-making organs.
Ambassador, Permanent Representative to the OPCW - H.E. Mr. Alexander V. SHULGIN
Deputy Permanent Representative to the OPCW - Mr. Azar Z. DZHIOEV
Statement by H.E. Ambassador A.V. Shulgin at the 83-rd session of the Executive Council (on the results of the vote on the draft decision on Syria)
We would like to clarify why the Russian delegation voted against the Spanish draft decision
of the Executive Council. First and foremost, we emphasise once again that we cannot agree
with the expression “of deep concern” with the conclusions set forth in the reports by the
OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism in Syria (JIM). These conclusions are not
convincing, they are superficial, and they were produced by dubious methodology.
First of all, we would recall that there have been sad precedents in the past when these types
of “conclusions” were used to form the basis for the adoption of far-reaching decisions. Time
has passed since then, and it has put everything in its right place. It has come to light that the
arguments used were unsound—one might even say fabricated. A moment of clarity is
coming, people are beginning to “repent in sackcloth and ashes”, although that is no longer
important, even as the wounds continue to bleed.
Second, we voted against the draft decision because the Syrian Arab Republic has been
denied its lawful right to conduct its own national investigation in line with the procedures set
out by the Chemical Weapons Convention and based on the incidents indicated in the JIM
reports in order to clarify what truly happened and report to the Executive Council on the
Third, we voted against the draft decision because we are concerned about the integrity and
authority of the Convention. Here we have a blatant attempt to loosely interpret the
Convention, when it is sufficient to merely consult it. At the same time, we see the inception
of a dangerous precedent for the future.
Another thing: I cannot help but agree with the distinguished Permanent Representative of
Ghana, who has absolutely appropriately and correctly drawn attention to the politicisation of
our Organisation’s work. And yet this is one of the most successful international forums on
disarmament and the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction—this Organisation
that became the laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts. Is this really the right step to
take? We are creating obstacles for all of our future endeavours.
In a word, we strongly regret that there was a vote, and we regret its results, which have led
to a schism within our Organisation and constitutes evidence of the fact that we are unable to
achieve a consensus on the Syrian dossier, in spite of all of our good will.
We would request that two moments be included in the report of the Eighty-Third Session of
the Executive Council. First: the very important statement that we made this morning
concerning the terrorist chemical weapons used against the population discovered by Russian
military servicemen in Aleppo. We will submit the appropriate wording. Second: I request
that the final report contain a reference to the fact that the delegation of the Russian
Federation expresses its deep regret about the decision adopted by the Executive Council,
which goes against the letter and spirit of the Convention, as well as its requirements.
We kindly request that this statement be circulated as an official document of the
Eighty-Third Session of the Executive Council.
Thank you, Madam Chairperson.