21 Jan 2020 10:54

Russia seeks new conclusion on incident in Syria's Douma - envoy to OPCW

NEW YORK, UN. Jan 21 (Interfax) - Russia has called for holding a briefing under the aegis of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in order to reach consensus on the alleged chemical warfare attack in the Syrian city of Douma, Russian Permanent Representative to the OPCW Alexander Shulgin said.

"The current situation with the disputable official report of the OPCW looks like an abscess. We cannot move forward until we eliminate it. How can we talk about trust to the Technical Secretariat and between the states parties?" Shulgin said at an informal meeting of the UN Security Council members dedicated to the OPCW report on the Douma incident.

Russia has "strong reasons to believe" that the investigation of the incident "leaves much to be desired."

"In this regard, we propose to resolve the conflict by holding a briefing at the OPCW (with possible assistance of the states parties) with the participation of all the [Fact-Finding Mission] FFM members who worked on the Douma report in order to come to a consensus regarding the incident in the Syrian town," Shulgin said.

"It has to be done imperatively," he said. "An error committed regarding Douma and other incidents can have serious consequences for the stability and security in the world," Shulgin said.

"It is a direct duty of responsible states, in particular, of the UN Security Council members, to understand what happened in Douma, to draw conclusions to prevent similar situations in the future that might lead to unpredictable consequences," he said.

The OPCW "Technical Secretariat, inspired by the unequivocal support of the United States and its followers, is not going to do anything. There is apparently a hope that everything will be resolved by itself," Shulgin said.

"Our American and British colleagues [...] operate such confrontational terms," he said.

The alleged chemical warfare attack in Douma, a suburb of Damascus, occurred on April 7, 2018. At least 70 civilian fatalities were reported.

The West accused Damascus of carrying out the attack on the basis of videos provided by the White Helmets organization and threatened Syria with military strikes. The Syrian authorities categorically denied the accusations.