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Moscow says all conditions are there for OPCW inspection at Shayrat airbase

MOSCOW, May 25. /TASS/. All the conditions have been set up at the Shayrat airbase in Syria in terms of security so that experts of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) could make a trip there, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a commentary on Thursday.

"All the conditions have been created there in terms of security and compliance with obligations under the Convention," it said.

The ministry recalled that the Syrian government issued official guarantees for secure access of OPCW experts there back at the beginning of April in order to enable them to establish facts of chemical weapons utilization.

"The Syrian government demanded an urgent visit, thus reaffirming the preparedness to fulfill its obligations that arise from Clause 12 of the OPCW mission mandate and from the provisions specified in Clause 15 of Part IX of the Chemical Weapons Convention appendix on inspections," the commentary said.

"These documents state in clear terms that an (OPCW) inspection group has the right of access to any and all areas that might have been affected by the employment of chemical weapons," it said.

"This means all the conditions have been created there (at Shayrat) in terms of security and compliance with obligations under the Convention," the ministry said. "Standing in a sharp contrast to it is the inaction of the (OPCW/UN) Joint Mechanism and the detached position of the OPCW leadership that believes a trip to Shayrat is outside of the sphere of competence of the OPCW Mission."

The incident that supposedly involved the use of chemical weapons occurred in Khan Sheykhun, a city in Syria’s Idlib Governorate on April 4. The Russian Defense Ministry said the Syrian Air Force destroyed the workshops where militants had been producing poisonous substances.

Washington accused the Syrian government of a chemical attack, however. The accusations entailed a missile strike at a Syrian airbase in Homs Governorate, which the U.S. Navy delivered in the small hours of April 7.