Can you comment on the statements by Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, who told the Italian press that Russia hopes the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) conducts an independent investigation of the events in Douma with the participation of U.S. and French experts?
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is currently investigating the attack in Douma on April 7. It is completely independent.
The OPCW’s mission is to establish the facts and determine the nature of the chemical agent used. It employs highly technical and extremely rigorous scientific methods that we have applauded on a number of occasions. The mission is not mandated to identify those responsible for the attack; only the Joint Investigative Mission of the UN and the OPCW (JIM) could do that, but its mandate wasn’t renewed due to Russian opposition in the Security Council.
The rigor of the OPCW’s methods and the expertise of its staff are incontestable. It is vital for the organization to have complete, immediate, and unhindered access to all sources of information, whether they be sites to visit, individuals to question, or documents to consult.
France reiterates its commitment to opposing impunity for the use of chemical weapons. It currently chairs the international partnership that provides useful information to international investigations under way and is working to complete the lists of individuals and entities involved in the use of chemical weapons. In the very near future, France will organize another meeting of the member states of this partnership to continue combating the use of these weapons and to demonstrate the total mobilization of the partner states to that end.