THE HAGUE, November 23. /TASS/. The United State is pandering to chemical terrorism through supporting extremist groups in Syria, Russian Permanent Representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Alexander Shulgin said on Friday.
"Under a pretext of fighting against terrorism in Syria, the United States has illegally deployed its military contingent in that country," Shulgin said at the OPCW Fourth Review Conference. "The real goal of the United States’ military presence is to provide a cover for extremist groups acting in Syria, in its own political interests. And these groups are behind provocations with the use of chemical weapons in Khan Shaykhoun and numerous other chemical incidents."
"So, as a matter of fact, the United States is encouraging chemical terrorism," he stressed.
"Non-governmental organizations affiliated with terrorists, such as the White Helmets, that have been caught in staging fake chemical attacks more than once, for instance in Syria’s Douma, are being widely used to create a corresponding information background," Shulgin said. "We have repeatedly informed both the OPCE Executive Council and the United Nations Security Council about the groundlessness of these allegations and wild guesses."
Moreover, the United States demonstrates a selective approach to the implementation of its liabilities under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), Shulgin continued. "In the recent time, the United States seeks to claim the mantle of the convention custodian, pointing to alleged violations of the CWC by other member nations," he said. "But what are the Americans doing themselves? We would like to focus special attention on the US’ implementation of its liabilities under the convention, which is openly selective. Any provisions of the convention that do not fit the US’ interests are simply ignored by Washington."
"For instance, when ratifying the convention, the US Congress made 28 reservations to make it possible to circumvent its provisions, in particular, to prohibit to take any chemical samples collected in the US outside the country; to impose restrictions on OPCW inspections in the US aiming to expose prohibited activities under a request from any other signatory nation; to use chemical agents to suppress riots, etc.," Shulgin noted. "Moreover, the United States is practically the only country to keep in place the reservation to the 1925 Geneva Protocol providing for a possible retaliatory use of chemical weapons."
"It is also worth recalling that back in 2003-2011 American and British specialists found more than 4,500 artillery and rocket shells and air bombs stuffed with toxic agents in Iraq and destroyed them secretly, without verification from the OPCW Secretariat," the Russian diplomat went on to say. "It seems that the key reason why these operations were kept secret was unwillingness to make public the United States’ involvement in Iraq’s former chemical warfare program."
"There are questions about the great number of munitions with allegedly unidentified chemical content destroyed by the US. They ask us to take it for granted that these are very old munitions. But, as they say, trust but verify! It may turn out that traces of undeclared chemical warfare activities are disguised as unidentified substances," he stressed.
"It is obvious that the United States is accusing Russia and other countries [of violating the CWC] because it wants to divert attention from its own ugly actions," Shulgin said. He called on the US to stop misleading the global community. "Instead, the Americans should better admit honestly that they must take steps to bring their activities in compliance with the clear requirements of the convention," Shulgin noted.