Remarks by the head of the Russian delegation, Permanent Representative of Russia to the OPCW, Ambassador Alexander Shulgin at the 60th meeting of the OPCW Executive Council, The Hague, June 4, 2018

Wednesday, 06 June 2018 23:32

Ms Chairperson,

The Russian Federation respects the right of the states parties to the Convention to initiate a special session of the Conference of the States Parties. However, today we face a paradoxical situation that raises logical questions.

The notification on the special session has been submitted, but the necessary number of delegations has not been agreed yet. Despite this, active preparations for the session are underway: we have been notified that it will take place in the last week of June, and the member states must provide information on the delegations’ rights and composition to the Technical Secretariat before June 18.

In addition, today’s meeting of the Executive Council also looks quite strange. We are supposed to draw up the agenda for a session that has not yet been officially approved, which means we are dealing with something like a phantasm.

Many delegations ask the right question: then what are we meeting for? It seems that drawing up the provisional agenda for the special session implies the Executive Council members’ participation. However, according to the Rules of Procedure of the Conference of the States Parties and the Technical Secretariat’s explanations, the Executive Council can undertake no actions regarding the provisional agenda. This means that it cannot be changed or amended. In any case, our delegation is not taking part in drawing it up. So what are we going to do here? But this is only one side of the matter.

Now I would like to comment on the substantive issues of the special session. We are all here already, so we are asking the initiators to inform the Executive Council about the task they set for the special session of the conference, the main body of our Organisation. I do not think we are being called simply to discuss supporting the global prohibition of chemical weapons, but some concrete measures. However, the initiators have not yet provided information on this and have not explained anything. We are offered to convene with unclear goal and, accordingly, unclear results. Perhaps now the initiators will reveal their true intentions about the conference?

We would also ask the Technical Secretariat which next steps it will make as part of preparations for the special session and what the financial consequences will be for the OPCW budget. According to the information we have, it will require large extraordinary expenses: about 600,000 euro are required to lease a convention centre alone.

Considering this situation, Russia, together with China, Iran, Syria and Venezuela, has prepared a joint statement. (Reads the text.)

Thank you, Ms Chairwoman.

We request that these remarks and the joint statement be distributed as official documents of the 60th meeting of the OPCW Executive Council.

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