OPCW decision on Syria is deeply regrettable

Ambassador's view
Dr Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Deputy foreign minister (2005-2011). Follow him on Twitter @Amb_Yakovenko
OPCW decision on Syria is deeply regrettable
On November 11, a group of Member States of the Executive Council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) secured support for a decision that is based on unfounded reports by the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) about the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

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The decision ensures unlimited inspections of the Syria’s military infrastructure and research facilities, which provide for the basic economic needs of the country, and in some cases the region as a whole. According to those who initiated and ensured the adoption of this decision, such inspections would ultimately allow the OPCW to assume total control over the defense, research and technological capacities of the sovereign state of Syria, which has been seriously undermined by the war that is being ignited and actively sponsored by external forces.

The adoption of this decision that infringes on the rights of a State Party to the Chemical Weapons Convention and the integrity of this vital document is alarming and deeply regrettable. One of the most highly respected and successful organizations in the area of disarmament and WMD non-proliferation, which received the Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to eliminate chemical weapons in Syria in 2013, is being turned by a group of countries that are set on regime change in Damascus into an instrument of political and economic pressure and blackmail. The tragic lessons of former Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya have not been learnt in practice, although many current and former leaders and players publicly admitted those blunders.

We can now expect a further increase in anti-Syrian rhetoric at the OPCW and the UN Security Council with the view to push through other divisive decisions. It is worth to remind that only decisions based on consensus are viable and that there is no alternative to collective action and genuine political solution. What happened during the last OPCW Executive Council meeting is the opposite.

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