MOSCOW, October 21. /TASS/. Russia is urging the United States to consider how harmful “double standards” are in the matters related to chemical weapons in the Middle East, which is becoming a “proving ground for terrorists to practice skills in synthesizing, producing and using chemical warfare agents,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a commentary following an article in the New York Times.
The publication “quotes official sources and US Department of Defense documents, which had remained classified until just recently, as saying the international coalition’s force in 2004-2011 discovered and covertly eliminated up to 5,000 chemical weapons, manufactured back during the years of the Iran-Iraq armed conflict with the use of Western technologies,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
This news “evokes a number of fundamental questions from the standpoint of the existing norms of international law,” the Foreign Ministry said.
“After discovering the chemical weapons the United States under its obligations contained in the Chemical Weapons Convention should have properly notified the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and then eliminate them under the OPCW control, which was not done for reasons that have now become clear,” the Foreign Ministry said.
"In the meantime, Washington and its allies are continuing a massive campaign to accuse the Syrian authorities of allegedly concealing part of its chemical weapons program,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said. Moreover, before the OPCW special mission has been through with its probe into the suspected use of chlorine-containing compounds for military purposes in Syria, a verdict has been pronounced to categorically put the responsibility on the Bashar Assad government.”
“In the meantime, similar events of 2013 in Han el-Assal and Eastern Ghouta, involving provocations by the Syrian opposition, point in the opposite direction and the international program for eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons is nearing completion,” the commentary runs.