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OPCW's attributive mechanism directed against Russia — diplomat

Russia's Permanent Representative to OPCW Alexander Shulgin said it will turn the organization into a "quasi-prosecution body"

THE HAGUE, October 12. /TASS/. Endowment of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) with attributive functions is directed against Russia, Permanent Representative to OPCW, Russian Ambassador to the Netherlands Alexander Shulgin told TASS on Friday.

Attributive functions pertain to tasking the organization with determining those responsible for the use of chemical weapons. "This will be directed against Russia. Western countries [that promote this measure] do not know themselves yet how this mechinsm will work," Shulgin said. "They want to do it in a format that will be maximally detrimental and painful for Russia," he added.

"It is not even clear to whom the OPCW Technical Secretariat will report its findings. Some say [they will report] to the International Criminal Court, others say to the so-called impartial mechanism of investigating serious crimes in Syria which was established by the UN General Assembly," Shulgin said. "It's important for them to launch the process now, and the specifics will be developed later," he noted.

The West's main goal is to get a budget for this from the OPCW, the diplomat said. "They don't care whether it will be 5 million, 2 million or 1 million [euros]. They want to launch the process. It's clear that this will not be limited to Syria, the main effort will be directed against Russia," Shulgin stressed.

This will turn the organization into a "quasi-prosecution body," the diplomat continued. "Will legal experts work there? This has nothing to do with the purpose of the Chemical Weapons Convention," he concluded.

Fact-Finding Mission on Syria

When accusing Russia and the Syrian government of hampering the operations of the Fact-Finding Mission on Syria (FFM), the UK is losing its ability to objectively assess their own actions, Shulgin said.

Commenting on recent statements by the UK envoy to OPCW, Shulgin said: "One can only think of a well-known Russian proverb - 'don't blame the mirror for your crooked face'. It seems that on the wave of never-ending accusations against Russia, our British colleagues have lost their ability to objectively assess their own actions. They should take these conclusions on board themselves, so that they do not hamper the activities of experts from the Fact-Finding Mission on Syria, and so that they stop imposing their will on them [experts]."

"Of course, the Mission is working exceptionally bad - they don't go to incident sites, they investigate from the distance and make their conclusions on the basis of materials from social networks and data provided by various biased NGOs and by the Syrian opposition," the ambassador said. "The FFM is especially attentive to reports coming from the notorious presudo-humanitarians from White Helmets," he added.

The FMM flagrantly violates the established procedures of handling evidence, the diplomat said. "At the same time, the evidence provided by the Syrian government and Russian military is almost always left out," he added.

Staff imbalance

Moscow has repeatedly raised the question of improving the Mission's work on the basis of meeting the requirements of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), Shulgin continued.

"We are also asking to establish order in issues of FMM's staff, which currently overrepresents experts from countries known as 'Friends of Syria'," he reminded. "Serious concerns about FMM's impartiality are raised by the fact that both leaders of this mission were Britons. They probably got this position for the sake of making 'right conclusions'," he noted.

Russia never jeopardized the work of Mission's specialists, the diplomat said. Moreover, Russian military police provided assistance to OPCW, in particular with the investigation in Syria's Douma.

"We will continue insisting on bringing the work of the Fact-Finding Mission on Syria in accordance with CWC, on diversifying its staff and making it geographically balanced, which is in line with practices of other international organizations," the ambassador said.