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OPCW refuses to divulge information on its labs

April 16, 2018, 16:55 UTC+3 THE HAGUE

On April 12, the OPCW released a report confirming London’s findings that the Skripals had been poisoned with a nerve agent, but did not provide any information on the name or origin of said agent

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© AP Photo/Peter Dejong

THE HAGUE, April 16. /TASS/. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) cannot disclose information on its designated accredited labs, the OPCW press service informed TASS on Monday.

"OPCW does not disclose the identity of designated labs that contribute to OPCW activities," the press service noted in response to the request to comment on the statements concerning its Swiss laboratory finding traces of the toxic chemical BZ in the samples from Salisbury.

"These labs are also bound by secrecy agreements. These arrangements exist to ensure the integrity of the analysis and results provided by the designated labs."

The international chemical weapons watchdog also stressed that the designated labs "are a lynchpin of the Organization’s verification regime and its capacity to investigate allegations of the use of chemical weapons."

"They must be able to perform off-site analysis of chemical weapons collected by OPCW inspectors from chemical production facilities, storage depots and other installations, or from the site of an alleged use of chemical weapons", and offer the necessary assurance that this analysis is carried out competently, impartially, and with unambiguous results.

NATO chemical weapons

On April 14, during the annual Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced that an independent analysis of the chemical used in the Salisbury incident had uncovered traces of chemical weapons that were in operational service in the United States, the United Kingdom and in some other NATO member states. He cited the confidential results from the Swiss center for radiology and bacteriological analysis in Spiez.

The top diplomat stated that the analysis of the samples uncovered traces of the toxic chemical BZ and its precursors falling into the second category of chemical weapons under the Chemical Weapons Convention. Lavrov added that the Russian side would ask the OPCW why this information was not used in the final report.

The Swiss lab later reported that they were unable to comment on the results of the expertise, as it falls under the OPCW’s authority only.

On April 12, the OPCW released a report confirming London’s findings that former Russian military intelligence officer-turned-British spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia had been poisoned with a nerve agent, but did not provide any information on the name or origin of said agent.

Skripal saga

On March 4, Sergei Skripal, who had been convicted in Russia of spying for Great Britain, and his daughter Yulia suffered the effects of an alleged nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury. Claiming that the substance used in the incident had been a nerve agent allegedly developed in Russia, London rushed to accuse Moscow of being involved in the case without presenting any evidence.

The Russian side flatly rejected all of the United Kingdom’s accusations, saying that a program aimed at developing such a substance had existed neither in the Soviet Union nor in Russia.

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