Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova’s answer to a media question regarding comments by the US State Department Spokesperson on the outcome of a telephone conversation between the Russian Foreign Minister and the US Secretary of State

Friday, 24 August 2018 11:45

Question: Would you please comment on the statement by US State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert, who said that during the telephone conversation between Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo Russia had been asked to support the OPCW’s efforts to bring the Syrian authorities to account for using chemical weapons?

Maria Zakharova: I have to bring your attention yet again to an imprecise interpretation by the US party of the content of contacts between high-ranking Russian and US officials. Heather Nauert’s statements do not correspond to reality as Michael Pompeo did not make a request like this. We consider this distorted account of the content of the conversation between the Russian Foreign Minister and the US Secretary of State as Washington’s attempt to use the bilateral dialogue on the Syria conflict to promote its own political agenda in respect of both Syria and – in its broader context – at the OPCW.

In connection with the above, we would like to remind you again of Russia’s position regarding the decision to authorise the OPCW to establish if a party is guilty of using chemical weapons that was pushed through by the United States and its allies at this organisation.

Russia supports the activities of this important international organisation, however, they should be strictly consistent with the objectives set forth in the CWC, which provide for technical assistance to national programmes to destroy chemical weapons. The convention does not have any provisions regarding the possibility of creating a special attributive mechanism for establishing if a party is guilty of using chemical weapons. We believe these actions tend to erode the spirit of consensus, which is critically important to the OPCW and put global policy of chemical weapons disarmament and the non-proliferation of chemical weapons in jeopardy.     

We hope that in the future the American party will be more scrupulous when commenting on the outcome of contacts between the Russian Foreign Minister and the US Secretary of State.

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