Russia considers the proposal self-defeating
MOSCOW, June 26. /TASS/. An extraordinary session of member-states of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) initiated by the UK is starting in The Hague on Tuesday. At the meeting, western countries might attempt to empower the Organization to apportion blame for incidents with the use of chemical agents. Russia considers the proposal self-defeating as it creates a temptation for western countries having a huge influence on decision-making in the Organization, to manipulate its opinion.
“Once the OPCW’s role turns from that of an expert involved in technical conclusions on circumstances of incidents with venomous agents into a prosecutor, all without consent of members of the organization regarding this transformation, it may totally undermine its credibility and open a question of the level of impartiality of its decisions. This is a highroad to a split in the organization, which can challenge the very Convention on prohibition of chemical weapons,” a European expert on chemical non-proliferation problems told TASS on condition of anonymity.
He believes that the attempts to “establish responsibility for cases of combat use of chemical agents through voting” may “destroy the whole mechanism of chemical non-proliferation.”
The Convention on the prohibition of the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons and on their destruction went into force in 1997. It stipulates that chemical weapons must be eliminated no later than 10 years after the document’s entry into force.
In April, some non-governmental organizations, including White Helmets, claimed that chemical weapons were used in the Syrian city of Douma, Eastern Ghouta, on April 7. The Russian Foreign Ministry dismissed that as fake news. The Russian Defense Ministry stated that White Helmets were an unreliable source, notorious for disseminating falsehoods. The Russian center for the reconciliation of conflicting parties on April 9 examined Douma to find no traces of chemical weapons. However, on April 14, the US, the UK and France, using unconfirmed information about the chemical attack as an excuse, carried a massive strike on Syria without the sanction of the UN Security Council.