Wednesday, January 20

Poisoning of Navalny, sarin attacks: Russia and Syria criticized by the OPCW

Russia and Syria are in the sights of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). At a meeting of member countries on Monday, the two countries were again faced with allegations of the use of chemical weapons.

Moscow was pressed by the Western countries to reveal in “transparency” the circumstances of the poisoning of the opponent Alexeï Navalny by an innervating agent of the Novichok type. And sanctions were called for against Damascus, after OPCW investigators accused Bashar al-Assad’s regime of sarin gas attacks in Syria in 2017. Russia and Syria have repeatedly rejected the various accusations, claiming that Western powers have politicized the work of the OPCW.

France proposes sanctions for Syria

Syria failed to meet the 90-day deadline set in July to reveal what weapons were used in attacks on the town of Lataminah and to declare existing stocks, OPCW chief Fernando Arias said. Damascus “has not fulfilled any of the obligations” made to it, Fernando Arias added at the meeting. He stressed that “gaps, inconsistencies and contradictions” remained in reports on Syria’s implementation of the 2013 agreement in which it committed to deliver all of its chemical weapons after an alleged sarin attack. which had killed 1,400 in Ghouta in the suburbs of its capital.

READ ALSO >> The chemical attack in Syria, Assad’s false suicide

France proposed that the OPCW “suspend the rights” of Syria for failing to meet the deadlines, French Ambassador Luis Vassy said, assuring that the proposal had the support of 43 countries. This would mean Syria would be deprived of its right to vote in the OPCW, an organization in which it has rejected all accusations of using chemical weapons for years.

Russia urged to shed light on Navalny poisoning

Russia, for its part, was urged to shed light on the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, for which Western governments are blaming the Kremlin. The OPCW confirmed the presence of traces of Novichok, an innervating agent for military use developed in Soviet times, in samples taken from the Russian opponent after his hospitalization in Berlin.

READ ALSO >> What does Alexeï Navalny really weigh in Russia?

Fernando Arias noted that the organization was still in talks with Moscow to send a team of investigators to Russia. In a joint statement, 55 countries including the United States, Japan, Canada, Australia and many European countries declared “to condemn in the strongest terms” the attack against Alexeï Navalny. They urged Russia to “quickly and transparently disclose the circumstances of this chemical weapons attack” committed on its territory.

Russia criticizes “politicization” of the OPCW “

Russia responded, saying in a statement that the “politicization” of the OPCW had become “a cancerous tumor”. She also stigmatized the “fiasco” concerning “the so-called poisoning” of Alexey Navalny. Regarding Syria, Moscow criticized the 2018 decision to give OPCW investigators new skills to identify the perpetrators of the chemical attacks, as they did in their April report on the gas attacks. sarin from 2017.

READ ALSO >> Alexeï Navalny, victim of the poison of corruption in Russia?

Previously, the OPCW could only confirm whether or not chemical weapons were used, but without saying by whom. Russia accused the Western powers of “trying to impose within the OPCW the decision to deprive Syria of its rights and privileges”, which would make the organization, according to it, a “parody of court”. The OPCW has 193 members and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013 for its work in favor of the destruction of chemical weapons stockpiles around the world.



Pierre Assouline, journalist, writer, Goncourt academician and columnist for L'Express.By Pierre Assouline

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