29 Mar 2018 21:49

OPCW can only establish chemical composition of toxic substance, cannot support British conclusions over Skripal poisoning - Lavrov

MOSCOW. March 27 (Interfax) - The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is not in a position to support British conclusions relating to the poisoning of Sergei Skripal; this body can only establish the chemical composition of the toxic substance, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

"I want to say right away that this article [of the Chemical Weapons Convention, CWC] only allows the OPCW technical secretariat to establish the chemical composition of the substance it is to analyze. The technical secretariat has no capabilities to support and verify conclusions the British have ostensibly reached; it does not have this authority," Lavrov said on Thursday.

The investigation of the incident is still ongoing, but conclusions have already been made, he said

"This is regrettable because we have not seen such an insult to international law in a very long time," Lavrov said.

Britain has "dug out" a technical CWC clause that a signatory may request technical assistance from the OPCW Secretariat, he said.

Under this clause, OPCW experts have now arrived in Britain to form an opinion and analyze the substance which the British say poisoned Sergei and Yulia Skripals, Lavrov said.