WASHINGTON, April 22. /TASS/. Washington sees no point in the formation of a new mechanism to investigate the alleged chemical attacks in Syria, according to a State Department spokesperson speaking with TASS.
"On April 20, the OPCW Executive Council overwhelmingly rejected a Russian-Iranian proposal for a new mechanism to investigate the April 4 chemical weapons attack on Khan Sheikhoun. Only six of the 40 voting members of the Executive Council voted for the Russian-Iranian proposal. Instead, States Parties signaled their ongoing support for the impartial investigation into the April 4 attack that is already well underway," the source told TASS.
According to the representative of the State Department, "the OPCW’s Fact-Finding Mission (FFM), which is currently conducting the investigation, is already empowered to investigate chemical weapons (CW) attacks in Syria." "Once the FFM determines CW use, the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) works to determine attribution," the spokesperson said, adding that both the FFM and the JIM are "independent and impartial mechanisms, and they have the full support of the United States."
Both Syria and Russia "agreed to the creation of these mechanisms in 2014 and 2015, the UN Security Council, including Russia, then unanimously renewed the JIM’s mandate for another year in November 2016. As such, there is no need for a new, redundant investigative mechanism," the State Department representative said.
"Unfortunately, this sort of distraction has been the Russian approach after each and every atrocity carried out by the regime. Attempts to complicate international investigation efforts supplement the myths promoted by Russia, supported only by the Assad regime and its backers, like those Russia put forth after the attack on a UN convoy in northern Aleppo in September 2016, and after the horrific use of the nerve agent sarin in Ghouta in 2013," the spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said earlier that "the steps taken by the United States and its western allies, who opposed sending experts to find out the truth on the scene of the alleged chemical weapons incident, are rather alarming because behind them, there is an attempt to find a pretext to refrain from implementing the UN Security Council resolution on political settlement as well as to shift the global community’s attention to creating pretexts for changing the regime.".