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Envoy compared UNSC discussion on Salisbury attack to Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass

Russia’s UN Representative Vasily Nebenzya called the incident "a filthy anti-Russian provocation"
Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews
Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya
© AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

UNITED NATIONS, April 19. /TASS/. Russia has heard "nothing new" from the British side at the United Nations Security Council meeting convened by the UK over the Salisbury incident, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya said on Wednesday, adding that what was said by Western diplomats resembled Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass.

According to the Russian diplomat, Moscow "is very thankful to the British side" for organizing the UN Security Council meeting. "We have been waiting for it, but, regrettably, have heard nothing new," he said. "When I am listening to some of my colleagues I cannot help catching myself thinking that it is no longer Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, it’s Through the Looking-Glass."

The Western countries, in his words, don’t want the truth not only on that matter. "They listen but don’t hear. Today, we heard the same lies the United Kingdom has been saying to mislead the world community: that it has received no answers from us to the questions it asked," he said, adding that the British side had asked two questions to receive 47 ones in response.

"Here they are," Nebenzya said and demonstrated a stack of paper. "Partial answers have been given to only two of them. We have no answers to the questions we asked during the previous Security Council meeting on that matter on April 5. We will have more questions. We have promised not to step away from this."

The Russian diplomat accused the British side of seeking to destroy all evidence on the so-called Skripal case. "In between, the British authorities, on the sly, are deliberately destroying evidence and material objects. Skripal’s pets have been eliminated, with no samples taken from them. Efforts are being taken to do away with all the places the Skripals visited: the bar, the restaurant, the bench, the soil on the part, etc.," he said, adding that paradoxically, "ordinary people go on living in Salisbury as if nothing had happened."

"It looks like neither the United Kingdom nor its allies are interested in any professional talk," he said. "Meanwhile, professional experts cast more and more doubts on the official British theory."

Anti-Russian provocation

The British side convened the United Nations Security Council meeting following a report of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on the probe into the poisoning of former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK’s Salisbury in early March.

"The OPCW report has nothing that can help the British side back its false allegations about Russia’s involvement in the Salisbury incident," the Russian ambassador stressed, adding that the OPCW had not confirmed London’s allegations that the agent used in Salisbury had originated from Russia.

He noted that the situation around the Salisbury incident resembles that over the poisoning of former Russian security service officer Alexander Litvinenko in the United Kingdom back in 2006. "All we can see is deja vu, we have seen it in Litvinenko’s case: utter non-transparency of the British side, which keeps on hiding any information that can throw light on what happened back then with Litvinenko," Nebenzya said. "I will tell those who doesn’t know: the United Kingdom has simply classified this information."

He once again noted that the Salisbury incident obviously was linked with the fake chemical attack in Damascus’ suburb of Douma that was used as a pretext by the United Kingdom, France and the United States to deliver a missile strike on Syria. "There is a good reason to say that Salisbury and Douma are interrelated. First, both incidents are provocations, and second, both are blamed on Russia," he said, adding that the Skripal case "is a filthy anti-Russian provocation designed to widen the gap between Russia and the European Union," with is in the UK’s interests ahead of its exit from the EU.

Literary battle

Beginning his speech with a literary allusion, Nebenzya ended it with another quote from English literature. "’Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind," he cited William Shakespeare’s King Henry VI. "Please, take the trouble of at least wrapping your suspicion in some glossy pack to be more convincing," he noted.

Russia, in his words, "will be looking for this enthralling series to be continued" and should the British side give no new information of "front-page news" on the Salisbury incident it would request another meeting on that topic itself. "Don’t you think you will be able to hide behind your poisonous lies and allegations," he said, adding that Moscow would continue to press London for real evidence.

"We agree with you only on one thing: no impunity. Those responsible for this provocation must be punished," the Russian diplomat stressed.

Taking the floor after the Russian envoy, UK’s Permanent Representative Karen Pierce rejected Russia’s argument saying the investigation into the Skripal case had been conducted independently from her country’s government. Noting the Russian ambassador’s literary knowledge, she said she had decided on a Christmas present to him. But although it was not yet Christmas, she said she would buy him a a subscription to the English book club, because what was happening around the Salisbury incident, in her words, was an updated version of George Orwell’s novel 1984, with modern-day Russian tactics.

UN Security Council meeting after OPCW session

Wednesday’s UN Security Council meeting echoed the previous discussions on the Skripal case, with the UK and its allies continuing blaming Russia for that.

Beginning the session, Izumi Nakamitsu, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, said she had no independent information about the March 4 incident in Salisbury. After that, she briefed the Council on new information, which she had received from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), adding that the OPCW director general "had expressed a deep concern over" the situation.

While British Ambassador Karen Pierce continued attempts to blame Russia for the poisoning of the Skripals, her US colleague, Nikki Haley, preferred to dwell on the topic of alleged Russian threat, warning that "the next attack would come" unless the world community "did not take a firm, unequivocal stance." French Ambassador Francois Delattre kept on saying that Russia "highly likely" had been behind the Salisbury incident and called on Moscow to immediately answer London’s questions about the alleged Novichok program.

On the other hand, the Bolivian delegation called for a broad, impartial and objective investigation of the Salisbury attack before advancing any accusations and use diplomatic channels to ease tension. Equatorial Guinea’s ambassador stressed that conclusive proof was needed to confirm the agent used in Salisbury and suggested a transparent mechanism be established to monitor and identify those responsible. The Chinese ambassador also spoke for further probe into the incident and stressed that reliable proof was needed.

On March 4, former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, 66, who had been earlier sentenced in Russia for spying for the UK, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were found unconscious on a bench near the Maltings shopping center in Salisbury, UK. Police said they had been exposed to a nerve agent.

Later, London claimed that the toxin of Novichok-class had been allegedly developed in Russia. With that, the UK rushed to accuse Russia of being involved, while failing to produce any evidence. Moscow refuted the accusations that it had participated in the incident and points out that neither the Soviet Union nor Russia have ever done research into that toxic chemical.