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Russian comment on the OPCW Special Mission’s report concerning the results of investigating the April 7, 2018, incident involving the use of chlorine in Douma, Syria

| Moscow (Russia)
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From March 12 to 15, 2019, The Hague hosted a regular session of the Executive Council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). While assessing the session’s results, one has to state with regret that Western representatives have once again demonstrated an openly unconstructive approach with regard to all factors that could have, one way or another, clarified the developments around the Syrian “chemical file,” which was invented by them.

This time, they blocked the proposal, by Russia and some other states, to hold a briefing at the OPCW headquarters, attended by all the experts of the OPCW Fact Finding Mission without exception. These experts are involved in the investigation of the high-profile April 2018 chemical incident in Douma, which has been dragging on for almost a year. The incident served as a pretext for the United States, the United Kingdom and France to launch a missile strike against Syrian research and development facilities. The strike was in violation of the UN Charter and other generally recognised norms of international law.

It appears that this is hardly a coincidence because such a briefing could have exposed very serious discrepancies in the essentially anti-Syria findings contained in the OPCW Fact Finding Mission final report of March 1 on this chemical incident, which, in effect, was nothing but yet another provocation staged by the so-called White Helmets. This is the conclusion that the Russian military experts who visited Douma several days after the incident and meticulously studied all the circumstances surrounding this episode reached. This incident had absolutely nothing to do with Syrian air force operations in the area, which the Fact Finding Mission’s report openly alleges. The Foreign Ministry’s website features assessments by the experts concerned. Posted on March 13, 2019, the relevant material deals with the news conference of Russia’s Permanent Representative to the OPCW Alexander Shulgin on the subject “OPCW report regarding the incident in Douma on April 7, 2018: Russian experts’ view.”

Apart from independent Western experts, even some of the Fact Finding Mission’s experts reached similar conclusions that the chemical incident in Douma had been staged. However, the Mission’s report does not even mention their opinions. Quite possibly this is the main reason for the active opposition to the Russian side’s proposal to hold a briefing whose participants would expose the truth about new manipulations around the Syrian “chemical file” for the purpose of ousting the legitimately elected government of Syria.

It is a cause for grave concern that the OPCW already perceives this as something appropriate, and that this is taking place with the obvious connivance of the OPCW Technical Secretariat’s senior officials who probably don’t completely understand that this purely technical and formerly highly reputable international agency is becoming a geopolitical tool for advancing the interests of a narrow group of states in the Middle East and in other regions.

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