28 Nov 2017 16:01

Russian official accuses U.S. of killing OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism for Syria

MOSCOW. Nov 28 (Interfax) - The United States has killed the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) set up by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the United Nations to investigate chemical incidents in Syria by blocking a joint draft resolution by Russia, China and Bolivia on extending the JIM's mandate, Russian Deputy Industry and Trade Minister Georgy Kalamanov said at the 22nd session of the Conference of the State Parties of the Chemical Weapons Convention in The Hague on Tuesday.

"The cynical actions that followed in the UN Security Council forum, including the blocking of the Russian-Chinese-Bolivian joint draft resolution on extending and reinforcing the JIM mandate, not only killed the Mechanism itself but also once again demonstrated the desire to use authoritative international organizations, be it the UN or the OPCW, to realize certain geopolitical ambitions with regard to the situation in Syria and the Middle East on the whole," Kalamanov, who leads the Russian delegation at the session, said in his speech, the transcript of which was obtained by Interfax.

After the OPCW Technical Secretariat confirmed the completion of the disposal of Syria's chemical warfare arsenal, the situation surrounding its so-called 'chemical dossier' has only been heating up "due to the desire of a certain group of countries to take advantage of it in pursuing their opportunistic political interests," he said.

"Double standards began being used against a full signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention, which has opposed extremism and terrorism sponsored from abroad for years, and this has had a most negative effect on both the Convention's integrity and the authority of the OPCW itself," Kalamanov said.

"Moreover, the unending and absolutely groundless accusations leveled at Damascus of using toxic chemicals and chemical warfare agents only play into the hands of terrorists and extremists supported from the outside in undertaking new provocative actions using first conventional and now military chemicals," Kalamanov said, adding that these actions are clearly aimed at discrediting the legitimate Syrian government.

If this "unacceptable state of affairs" persists, recurrences of "chemical terrorism will sooner or later go beyond the boundaries of Syria, Iraq, and the Middle Eastern region in general," Kalamanov said.

He urged those "creating this extremely dangerous situation directly or indirectly" to be reasonable.