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OPCW refuses to vote Russian-Iranian draft resolution on Syria — envoy

April 17, 0:12 UTC+3

"It was an accurately worded, well-balanced document. We initiated it in a hope for a consensus," Russia's OPCW envoy said

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Russia’s Permanent Representative to the OPCW Alexander Shulgin

Russia’s Permanent Representative to the OPCW Alexander Shulgin

© AP Photo/Peter Dejong

THE HAGUE, April 16. /TASS/. The Executive Council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has refused from voting a draft resolution on the investigation into the incident in Syria’s Douma that was initiated by Russia and Iran, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the OPCW Alexander Shulgin said on Monday.

"Following the OPCW decision to deploy its experts to Syria, we suggested the Executive Council pass a brief resolution in support of this mission," he said. "We wanted to reflect in this resolution that it is necessary to find out what really had happened there, to call on all parties concerned that can help clarify this situation to make their contribution, including by means of ensuring security of experts during their stay in Eastern Ghouta (where Douma is loctade - TASS). We also suggested the OPCW director general be entrusted to play an active role in ensuring smooth work of the fact-finding mission."

"It was an accurately worded, well-balanced document. We initiated it in a hope for a consensus. But, regrettably, the following discussion demonstrated that our Western partners, first of all, the United States, are not ready for that," he stressed.

"Surprisingly, but this harmless, purely technical document caused some sort of panic with our partners," Shulgin noted. "They invented all kinds of pretexts, saying the document was unnecessary since the OPCW team was already acting on the ground. They tries to ascribe what the document did not have at all, i.e. that we were seeking to dictate the OPCW leadership what to do. But, as a matter of fact, our Western partners found themselves in a very awkward position."

"They could not simply reject our compromise-based, consensus document, so, they had to invent various pretexts," he said. "It was a real fun to look at the US ambassador who spared no effort not to vote our document. Apparently, the Americans need no document at all because they need no investigation. But it set their allies thinking: if they vote against our draft it would mean that they object against an OPCW probe."

Some non-governmental organizations, including White Helmets, claim that chemical weapons were used in Douma, Eastern Ghouta, on April 7. According to the statement uploaded to the organization’s website on April 8, chlorine bombs were dropped on the city to kill dozens and poison other local civilians who had to be brought to hospital.

The Russian foreign ministry dismissed that as fake news. The Russian defense ministry stated that White Helmets were an unreliable source, notorious for disseminating falsehoods. The Russian center for the reconciliation of conflicting parties on April 9 examined Douma to find no traces of chemical weapons. OPCW experts arrived in Damascus on April 14.

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