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Russia calls to stop politicizing OPCW activities

April 14, 2017, 23:18 UTC+3 THE HAGUE

"The OPCW is a technical organization established to monitor the chemical disarmament process," Russia’s Permanent Representative to the OPCW, Alexander Shulgin said

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THE HAGUE, April 14. /TASS/. Russia believes it is necessary to stop politicizing the work of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), since this is dangerous for its integrity, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the OPCW, Alexander Shulgin, told TASS on Friday.

"We have always opposed politicization," he said. "The OPCW is a technical organization established to monitor the chemical disarmament process. When we begin to discuss political issues there, this is dangerous for its integrity."

"It was not we who started that," Shulgin emphasized. "That began last year at the November session of the Executive Council, when our American partners, with the minimum majority of votes, passed an anti-Syrian decision made in violation of the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. We immediately warned that this is dangerous. We set the precedent splitting the organization."

"Then the debates seem to have subsided, but now they virtually go off the scale again," the envoy said. "One cannot handle matters in such a manner. We need to return to the organization’s original purpose."

On Thursday, April 13, The Hague hosted the 54th emergency meeting of the OPCW Executive Council in connection with the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria’s Khan Sheikhoun. According to Shulgin, some delegations tried to turn it into "a kind of kangaroo court when the perpetrators are already known, and a sentence is imposed on them." For its part, the Russian side noted that the investigation into the incident is not over yet and that at this stage no evidence has been provided that the Syrian government is to blame for the alleged use of chemical weapons.

The incident in the city of Khan Sheikhoun in Syria’s Idlib province where chemical weapons were allegedly used occurred on April 4. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the Syrian air force had delivered an airstrike on the eastern outskirts of Khan Sheikhoun to destroy militant facilities used to produce chemical bombs. These bombs were sent to Iraq and were also used in Aleppo. Washington accused Damascus of using chemical weapons, after which the US carried out a missile strike on Syria’s military airfield in the Homs province. On April 11, Turkish Health Minister Recep Akdag said that experts had established the fact of using sarin in Khan Sheikhoun.

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