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UK trying to use OPCW to bolster its conclusions on Salisbury incident — envoy

THE HAGUE, April 4. /TASS/. The UK government is striving to use the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons [OPCW] for bolstering the results of its national investigation of the alleged poisoning of the former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, the Russian envoy to the OPCW, Alexander Shulgin said on Wednesday.

He said it after a session of the OPCW Executive Council that was held at Russia’s initiative.

"Contrary to the algorithm of actions specified by the convention for the prohibition of chemical weapons, our British partners have clutched at procedural hitches and have requested technical assistance from the OPCW’s technical secretariat in order to reaffirm the results of the national investigation through an independent expert study," Shulgin said.

He recalled the conclusions drawn by British Prime Minister Theresa May who claimed Russia had attacked the UK with the aid of chemical weapons.

Shulgin said that joint Russian-Iranian-Chinese draft statement on investigation of the alleged poisoning incident in Salisbury did not get the necessary number of votes at Wednesday’s session of the Executive Council of the OPCW.

"Members of the OPCW Executive Council voted on the Russian-Iranian-Chinese draft statement today but, unfortunately, we didn’t manage to get the qualitied majority of two-thirds of the votes, which would mean adoption of our resolution," he said.

"The Britons, Americans and - following their example - EU and NATO member-states and some the Asian allies of the US voted against it," Shulgin said.

"It’s noteworthy, however, that 23 countries refused to associate themselves with that viewpoint," he said. "They either voted for our proposal or refrained from voting. And this is a half of all the members of the Executive Council."

Russia's proposal on investigating the incident at Salisbury didn't invoke understanding among Western member-states of the Organization for the OPCW, according to Shulgin.

"We submitted a weighed-out proposal but it didn't invoke understanding on the part of Western countries who sank so low as to hurl libellous rebukes and concoctions ar Russia," he said. "We had to respond to them in a tough way."