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Document on chemical attacks in Syria endangers integrity of Chemical Weapons Convention

November 17, 2018, 23:36 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said the attempts to implement it are also fraught with unpredictable implications for a constructive dialogue about chemical weapons on the international arena

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Russia's Foreign Ministry

Russia's Foreign Ministry

© Sergey Sevostyanov/TASS

MOSCOW, November 17. /TASS/. The memorandum of understanding between the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the United Nations Joint Investigating Mechanism (JIM) jeopardizes integrity of the Chemical Weapons Convention, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.

"The attempts to implement it are fraught with unpredictable implications for integrity of the Chemical Weapons Convention and a constructive and mutually beneficial dialogue about chemical weapons on the international arena, including the UN," the ministry said.

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the OPCW and "the international impartial mechanism," which was set up to investigate chemical attacks in Syria in line with UN Resolution 71/248, plan to approve this memorandum to coordinate further steps.

The memorandum was drafted with numerous violations and "in essence, on the verge of arbitrariness by its authors."

"The memorandum of understanding directly breaches provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention in the part related to confidentiality, to say nothing of the OPCW confidentiality policy, since it [the memorandum of understanding] suggests that JIM (and third individuals via it) could get access to information of interest," the ministry said.

"The fundamental principle of confidentiality is that the OPCW (and its Technical Secretariat) do not disclose information received while implementing the Convention, except cases when such a possibility is directly allowed for by a member state," it added.

"It should not be overlooked that ‘Mechanism’ 71/248 was established by the UN General Assembly in excess of jurisdiction. It implies its judicial inconsistency. The mechanism does not have international legal personality to enter into contractual arrangements," the Russian foreign ministry stressed.

Russia’s key concern about the future signing of the memorandum of understanding was conveyed to OPCW Director General Fernando Arias and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the ministry said in conclusion.

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