United Nations (USA) – “Jerusalem” dot com- (AFP) – The United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons condemned Friday, during a video session of the Security Council, incomplete statements of Syria regarding its chemical weapons. At the same time, Russia, which supports Damascus, refused. She considered it “speculation” and pressure from the West.
“The OPCW Technical Secretariat continues to believe that at this stage, due to unresolved gaps and contradictions, the statement submitted by Syria cannot be considered accurate and complete by the Chemical Weapons Convention,” said Izumi Nakamitsu, the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs.
She indicated that 19 questions remained unanswered.
“One of these 19 questions concerns a chemical weapons production facility that Syria has declared has never been used in the production of chemical weapons,” said Fernando Arias, director of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
Arias did not specify the facility’s location but confirmed that evidence had been found since 2014 of it being used to manufacture chemical weapons.
The OPCW investigators accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of launching attacks with sarin gas and chlorine in Syria in 2017. Russia and Syria rejected the accusations, saying, “Western powers have politicized the work of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.”
“What we reject is speculation and political smear campaigns that, unfortunately, are increasingly poisoning the OPCW,” said Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzia, criticizing the technical secretariat’s working methods.
“Instead of collecting samples in the field, the Technical Secretariat conducts remote surveys, relying on external information and open sources,” he added.
In a joint statement before the meeting, the Security Council’s European members (Germany, Belgium, Estonia, France, and the United Kingdom) expressed their desire to extend their “full support” to the OPCW. They said, “We have full confidence in the OPCW’s technical secretariat, its professionalism, impartiality, and its solid experience in implementing the Chemical Weapons Convention and the tasks assigned to it by State Parties.”
The United States also said it “strongly supports” the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
Russia and Syria have been under pressure for months from the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to explain chemical attacks carried out in Syria and poisoning Russian citizens.
Although the meeting was devoted to chemical weapons in Syria, Fernando Arias focused on the case of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, who was poisoned with a Novichok nerve gas.
He especially expressed his regret that Moscow was still preventing a technical visit by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to Russia, similar to the one conducted in Germany where Navalny had received treatment.