Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov's comment regarding the Paris meeting of the so-called International Partnership Against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons

Thursday, 25 January 2018 12:56

We took note of a number of revealing circumstances connected with the meeting held in Paris on January 23 on the launch of an “International Partnership Against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons.”

Ultimately, 24 states, most of which are members of the Executive Council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), took part in the event summoned by Paris and Washington. It appears that they considered it possible to join the agreements establishing the above pseudo-nonproliferation regime.

Notably, neither Russia nor, as far as we know, China were even invited to that meeting. Moreover, preparations for this clandestine “get-together” were conducted in secret. When we began to ask suggestive questions about this event, our colleagues in Paris and Washington were noticeably embarrassed and even “upset.” In a word, their original scenario went awry. That said, the anti-Syrian and anti-Russian orientation of their designs came out loud and clear.

The evil attacks against Syria and Russia during the Paris meeting went beyond professional ethics and elementary decency. The tone, of course, was set by the United States, which openly accused Russia of the continued use of toxic chemicals and full-fledged chemical warfare agents in Syria. Russia allegedly failed to comply with its share of the commitments under Russia-US agreements of 2013 on Syria's chemical demilitarisation and allegedly covers such “crimes of Damascus.”

The true intentions of the organisers of the “voluntary partnership” can be seen from the political “mutual understanding” achieved in Paris concerning the collection and accumulation of information about the perpetrators of the use of chemical weapons – “individuals and legal entities, organisations and governments” – with an eye towards imposing sanctions on them at national and supranational levels and passing judicial and legal rulings. All of this fundamentally contradicts the universally recognised international norms, runs counter to the spirit and letter of the UN Charter, and the UN Security Council’s work methods.

As a warning to those who do not share the goals of “partnership,” this approach was reinforced by an immediate decision of the French organisers to impose unilateral sanctions against 25 Syrian officials and entities. On top of this, they openly declared their “right” to impose such national sanctions, which will allegedly “help” international organisations. Literally, things were turned upside down.

The cynicism of those behind the venture with “partnership” clearly manifests itself in ongoing attempts to convince everyone of the “universal nature” of this “partnership” that is allegedly “not directed” against any country.

In fact, it is, of course, an attempt to de facto substitute the functions of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the UN Security Council. There is a real threat of erosion of the international non-proliferation regime, which took decades to form.

We call on the CWC member countries to show political will and wisdom. One cannot yield to the dictate of a group of those who are ready to use such objectionable methods of demonising the legitimate Syrian government with a view to subsequently topple it. “Partnership” is a way to “bind” its participants with political commitments to jointly promote anti-Syrian decisions in the UN Security Council and the OPCW.

We would like to remind you that the government led by Bashar al-Assad volunteered to join the CWC back in 2013 and, in the shortest term and in the most difficult conditions of a bloody war with international terrorism, refused to possess chemical weapons and ensured its complete destruction with the assistance of the international community and under close supervision by the OPCW. The United States took a direct part in this.

Unsubstantiated accusations against Syria and Russia continue to pour in amid relapses of chemical terrorism in the Middle East with the connivance of the West, brazen provocations by militants with the use of toxic chemicals, and – importantly – with Washington's unwillingness to honour at least its own commitments to destroy the US stocks of chemical weapons.

It was at the insistence of the United States that the CWC set an unrealistically ambitious deadline for the global destruction of chemical arsenals – 2007. Clearly, this deadline was not met. More than a decade passed since then. The vast majority of countries – including us – fulfilled their obligations.

However, the situation is completely different with the liquidation of chemical weapons in the United States, which undoubtedly possesses all the necessary financial, industrial, scientific and technical resources to resolve this matter. Despite this, it irresponsibly postpones, time and again, the complete destruction of its own chemical arsenal. Now, it turns out that Washington owns the world's largest stockpile of chemical weapons – more than 2,500 tonnes of the most dangerous weapons-grade poisonous substances.

Thus, the United States carefully preserves the forbidden for all others type of weapons of mass destruction. Clearly, it needs them for some reason.

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