The Russian Foreign Ministry reacted to a meeting to investigate chemical attacks in Syria called the “International Partnership against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons”, which took place on January 23 in Paris.
As noted in the statement of Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov, the tone of the meeting was anti-Russian in nature, and Russia itself was not invited to it. Along with this, according to the diplomat, preparation for the meeting was carried out secretly.
“When we began to ask leading questions about the event, colleagues in Paris and Washington were noticeably embarrassed and even ‘upset.’ In short, the original scenario didn’t go as planned. At the same time, the anti-Syrian and anti-Russian intentions were clear,” said the diplomat.
“The malicious attacks on Syria and Russia, voiced during the Paris meeting, went beyond professional ethics and basic decency,” said Ryabkov. “The tone, naturally, was set by the Americans, openly accusing Russia of the continued use of toxic chemicals and full-fledged chemical warfare agents in Syrian territory.” Russia has allegedly not fulfilled its obligations under the Russian-American agreements of 2013 on the chemical demilitarization of Syria, and this allegedly covers these “crimes of Damascus,” the diplomat explained.
According to Ryabkov, the meeting was “an attempt to de facto replace the functions of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the UN Security Council… There is a real threat of erosion of the international non-proliferation regime, which has been developed for decades,” he warned.
He added that accusations of Russia and Syria being involved in the chemical attacks remain unproven, while “in the Middle East, with the connivance of the West,” there continue to be “instances of chemical terrorism and outright use of toxic chemicals by militants.”
In his statement, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia called on the member countries of the CWC “to show political will and wisdom…One cannot yield to the dictates of a group who are ready to use such odious methods of demonizing the legitimate government Syria with a view to its subsequent removal from power. ‘Partnership’ is a way to ‘tie’ participants with political commitments together to jointly promote anti-Syrian decisions in the UN Security Council and the OPCW,” he added.
The meeting, which was attended by representatives of 24 states, took place in Paris on January 23. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that Russia bears some responsibility for all of the chemical attacks in Syria. “Whoever conducted the attacks, Russia ultimately bears responsibility for the victims in East Ghouta and countless other Syrians targeted with chemical weapons, since Russia became involved in Syria,” he said. In turn, the Kremlin said that the U.S. “actually derailed the investigation” about the use of chemical weapons in Syria and “prefers to slap labels” on others.