Syria – Chemical weapons - Q&A - Excerpts from the daily press briefing (19 ocotbre 2017)

Q - How do you interpret Russian comments calling into question the work and future of the OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism on the use of chemical weapons in Syria?

A - We regret that Russia is questioning the quality of the work conducted by investigative mechanisms on the use of chemical weapons in Syria since they attributed responsibility to the Syrian army and security forces.

We cannot accept challenges to the credibility and independence of these mechanisms simply because Russia does not like their conclusions. It undermines the international consensus that we are responsible for building in order to end the use of these weapons in Syria.

The team of investigators from the chemical weapons organization – the fact-finding mission (FFM) – is able to confirm the use of sarin gas without going out into the field, where little information can be found seven months after the attack, and where security conditions would prevent them from working.

The Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) concluded in its reports of August and October 2016 that the Syrian army and security forces used chlorine three times, and Daesh did so once. The investigation’s methodology is indisputable. The Security Council must renew the mandate of this mechanism, which inspires in November.

France presented its assessment of the sarin gas attack on Khan Sheikhoun on April 4, 2017, and demonstrated the Syrian army’s responsibility beyond the shadow of a doubt.

192 nations have renounced the use of chemical weapons. Syria itself pledged to do so in 2013. It is the responsibility of the States Parties, including Russia, to protect the Chemical Weapons Convention and to oppose impunity.

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