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The OPCW could turn into a new arena of political battles in connection with the "The Skripal Case"

27.06.2018 13:37

Stasy Dementieff

In Hague, on June 26, an extraordinary conference of the States Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons started. It convened at the initiative of the United Kingdom.

The Kremlin does not rule out the possibility that London and its allies will attempt to give the OPCW a formal right to identify those responsible for incidents involving the use of poisonous substances. And in the absence of evidence to call those who are "highly likely" is responsible for such incidents. Russia, which also participates in the session, considers this proposal counterproductive.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation Georgy Kalamanov, who heads the Russian delegation, said that Moscow will propose its own draft decision on the mandate of the OPCW. "We believe that the powers that the OPCW wants to give to the UN are the powers of the UN Security Council, and this is the only body that has the right to take such decisions," the head of the Russian delegation said.

Now, against the background of a decrease in public interest in the Skripal case, which still lacks any evidence, London is trying to get the support of the OPCW and hopes to convince the organization that the poisoning of the former British spy "is highly likely to be Russia". Moreover, Britain and its allies are trying to link the incident in Salisbury with the April events in the Syrian Duma. These are incidents with the confirmed or alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria, for which the West, by default, seeks to impose all responsibility on the official Damascus.

In Moscow, these political initiatives are being sharply criticized. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin notes that it is unacceptable in advance to "attach accusatory labels" to Moscow, thus complicating the expert assessment of the facts actually established. According to him, "there is no way in the logic of collective search for solutions to attempt to split the international organizations, such as the OPCW. At the extraordinary session of the OPCW conference that opens on Tuesday, we, unfortunately, risk being witnesses of how the technical structure will be tried to turn into an arena of political battles," Vershinin warned.

In turn, the director of the Department for nonproliferation and arms control of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Vladimir Ermakov, is convinced that the attempts to turn the Organization's Technical Secretariat on the prohibition of chemical weapons into a mechanism completely under the control of the West will not work. "We will not allow the transformation of a purely technical and, so far, highly successful multilateral non-proliferation mechanism into yet another highly politicized tool of pressure by Western countries against governments that are unfit for them," the diplomat said in a joint briefing with the Defense Ministry to investigate the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Ermakov called on the states to "resolutely distance themselves" from such an adventure and be guided by the interests of the unity and integrity of the OPCW. "It is important to show at this most difficult stage of politics eskuyu and will focus their efforts not on fueling conflict in the OPCW and on the real and effective strengthening of the friendly regime of chemical disarmament and non-proliferation," the diplomat said.

However, for the decision to change the powers of the OPCW under the current regulations, one-third of the participants in the conference who voted for it should vote for it. However, this fact is of decisive importance, since those who abstain from the procedure are considered not to have taken part in it. And this means that their votes will be taken into account.

It is not excluded that the parties will not be able to reach agreement on this difficult political issue. What could be the precondition for a split in the OPCW. And this, in turn, will jeopardize the very Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. So the West should think hard before embarking on an obviously unplayable geopolitical adventure.