Q – On June 22, the Russian Foreign Ministry presented its assessment of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)’s work on the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
Russia deems unfounded the conclusions of the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) of the OPCW and the UN, which determined that the Syrian armed forces and security forces were responsible for four cases involving the use of chlorine and sarin in Syria. How do you respond to that?
A - For France, and for the majority of the world’s nations, there is no doubt about the fact that Syria has used chemical weapons and toxic substances as weapons against its population since 2012.
The investigative mechanisms of the OPCW and the UN were established with Russia’s agreement in 2015, and Russia approved their investigative methods. It has only disputed these methods since the mechanism issued its first conclusions in 2016.
France wishes to work with all its partners to reestablish the prohibition on the use of chemical weapons, and to identify those responsible for using these weapons, in Syria and worldwide.
Together with other States, it proposes to reestablish a new mechanism for investigation and attribution at the OPCW for cases in which such weapons are used, the only way to independently establish the truthfulness of the facts, something Russia also desires. It will be one of the goals of the special session of the Conference of States Parties to the Chemical Weapon Convention beginning on June 26 in The Hague.