Press Release of the Permanent Representative of Russia to OPCW - 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. Igor S. VISHNEVETSKY
Press Release of the Permanent Representative of Russia to OPCW
of the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the OPCW
We paid our attention to a twit of the Permanent Representative of the UK to the OPCW “Outrageous that Russia and Syria are trying to undermine work of FFM on CW use in Syria”.
Apparently our British colleagues have in such a manner reacted to the critical remarks by the Russian delegation to the work of the FFM in the course of the 89th Session of the Executive Council.
What can be said about this twit? We can only come up with a saying “Don’t lay the blame at someone’s own faults”. In fact, the situation at the OPCW is absolutely contrary to what was presented in the twit.
The Mission’s work can be assessed as not satisfactory. The Fact Finding Mission didn’t visit the locations of the incidents, it carries out remote investigation, and draws its conclusions mostly on the materials from social networks, and data presented by various politically committed NGOs and Syrian opposition. With special attention does the FFM treat the information presented by notorious pseudo-humanitarian organization like the White Helmets. At the same time the data delivered by the Syrian government and Russian military are not taken into consideration. The staff of the FFM violate the established order of collection and preservation of evidence (chain of custody).
All these shortcomings were revealed during the investigation of the memorable event in Khan Shaykhun in April 2017. The head of the FFM confirmed use of sarin, even without finding out how the chemical weapon was delivered there. The fragments of the ammunition depicted on the photos with the White Helmets’ members vanished mysteriously, and the FFM inspectors didn’t even try looking for them. The symptoms of the victims of the chemical weapon attack included the following: diarrhea, headache, and vertigo, but dilated pupils that could be seen on the photos of kids that became alleged victims of sarin attack presented by the White Helmets were not considered at all (sarin in fact narrows pupils). It turned out that the US President Donald Trump ordered to carry out a missile blow over the air base Shayrat basing on the aforementioned photos, but they were not assessed by the FFM: the photos were considered to be an insufficient evidence.
On several occasions we posed the questions regarding improvement of the FFM methods of work: strict observation of the CWC, and refuse of faulty distant investigations. We also insisted on changes to the composition of the FFM, where representatives of the Friends of Syria Group dominate. Impartiality of the FFM can be doubted as long as the two heads of the Mission were British nationals. They have presumably gained such positions in order to come to the ‘right’ conclusions.
Unfortunately the Mission has ignored our proposals. Such situation where the FFM drafts reports that are convenient to the UK, the US and their allies, suffices Western states.
Despite our critical attitude towards the FFM, never did we pose threats to the work of the specialists. Moreover, the Russian military police has actively contributed to the investigation in Douma incident of April 7 what was highlighted by the Technical Secretariat. This is opposite to the arrogant behavior of the UK and its allies, the USA and France. The latter were perfectly informed by the Press Release of the Technical Secretariat regarding a group of experts that was arriving to Damask. But nevertheless did Western ‘Troika’ attack Syria with rackets, within several hours before arrival of the experts.
Regarding the incident in Douma Russian armed forces have determined that that was the White Helmets provocation. We presented persuading evidence during the briefing organized on April 26 in the OPCW Head Quarters. But our British and other Western colleagues ignored the briefing. The investigation organized by the FFM is linked to the attempts of the Great Britain to influence the final conclusions of the report: they should have saved their reputation, as well as application of the chemical weapons in Douma excuses missile attack against Syria.
It should be also borne in mind that the UK pathetically takes care of the White Helmets staff, and they suggested to nominate the organization for the Nobel Peace Prize. Meanwhile when the White Helmets were evacuating from Syria, their patrons didn’t hurry to shelter them. The British studied their personal records, and understood who they deal with.
We are going to consistently insist that the FFM worked according to the CWC provisions, that its staff were geographically diverse, as it should be in any international organization.
In a nutshell, it seems that our British colleagues in the course of a constant anti-Russian accusations have lost the ability to objectively assess their steps. It is high time they made a conclusion not to intervene into the work of the FFM and abstain from imposing their will to the OPCW.