Comment by the Information and Press Department on the OPCW’s obligations to CWC signatories

Wednesday, 01 November 2017 08:15

The situation surrounding Syria’s right, as a signatory of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), to receive samples taken on the territory of that sovereign country is perplexing.

It took the Technical Secretariat of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) several months to finally decide to partially satisfy Syria’s repeated requests to that effect and to promise to provide both the test results and the samples kept at the OPCW lab.  At the same time, Syria was not allowed to have the biomedical samples provided by members of the opposition and affiliated NGOs out of consideration for the safety of the “victim donors”.  The pretext is rather strange – how can the victims be in danger if their names are not disclosed?

In addition, the OPCW Technical Secretariat keeps evading the question of whether it really has samples allegedly taken by the British and the French on the site of the incident in Khan Shaykhun.  According to the Convention, these samples should be given to the country on whose territory they were taken.

An unpleasant picture is coming into focus. With regard to Syria, a known group of countries keeps citing special circumstances, making excessive demands and creating a rigid time table for meeting these demands. At the same time, they are infringing on Syria’s inalienable rights under the Convention as a signatory.

There can be only one conclusion: as the US and its associates continue to ratchet up tensions around the Syrian “chemical dossier,” we are seeing more and more clear evidence of “double standards” in how Syria is treated at the UN Security Council and in the OPCW.

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