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4 Apr, 2018 16:52

Catch 22: Russia's Skripal probe stalled without show of 'goodwill' from hostile UK

Catch 22: Russia's Skripal probe stalled without show of 'goodwill' from hostile UK

OPCW said it can provide Moscow with data on the Skripal case only if the UK shows “goodwill,” says Russia’s permanent representative to the chemical weapons watchdog. London, however, is not expected to do so, the official said.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has refused to provide Russia with any facts on the investigation into the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, the permanent representative to the organization, Aleksandr Shulgin, said.

Any data can be provided only if the UK shows “goodwill” on the matter, which, however, is unlikely, given London’s behavior, Shulgin said.

The official stressed that Moscow is very interested in establishing the truth, since “Russian nationals have become victims of actions, closely resembling a terrorist act.”

Russia, along with China and Iran, presented a draft proposal for tackling the Skripal case at the OPCW’s extraordinary session on Wednesday. The plan calls for two key actions: Launch a joint Russia-UK investigation into the Skripal case and instruct the director General of the technical secretariat of the OPCW to support such work, the Russian representative said.

“In response to our constructive, calm and emotionless proposition, we’ve received a flow of murky lies, based on a hard-boiled Russophobia,” Shulgin said.

During the extraordinary session, representatives of the UK, US and many of the EU countries released similar statements, claiming that the China-Iran-Russia draft was Moscow’s attempt to evade the “polite” questions of London. In fact, Russia has received nothing but a rude ultimatum, urging it to acknowledge guilt in the Skripal incident, Shulgin stressed, while British officials also alleged the existence of a concealed chemical weaponry stockpile in Russia as a given fact.

The official also reminded the attendance that Russia destroyed all of its stockpile last year, ahead of schedule, under the vigilant supervision of the OPCW. Another rich and resourceful country, however, namely the US, is still dragging behind and has not destroyed its chemical arsenal, citing “lack of funds,” Shulgin said.

The draft proposition sank during the OPCW session, at which Russia failed to secure a qualified majority. More than a half of the OPCW’s executive council members voted either for it or abstained from voting.

“Following this vote, we can positively say that the masks have been thrown out,” Shulgin said. “The UK and the US, who pretend to be guarantors of international law, in reality blatantly violate it themselves. Our China-Iran-Russia draft document has been based solely on the principles of international law. It turns out for the US and the UK [that] the Chemical Weapons Convention means nothing and they can use it in any way they want.”

The attitude shown by the western countries towards the draft, Shulgin said, looked like they were not interested in uncovering the truth. He also predicted that, ultimately, they would be held accountable for the anti-Russian slander that has repeatedly issued from them since the beginning of the Skripal scandal.

Russia reminded the western countries about their own record of atrocities, namely the false accusations against Iraq, which led to the destruction of the country, as well as other unjustified and illegal invasions of other sovereign nations. Attempts by western countries to lecture Russia on the alleged misuse of non-existent chemical weaponry is “the pot calling the kettle black,” Shulgin said.

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