Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Closing remarks by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at an Arria-formula meeting of UNSC member states "Implementation of UNSCR 2118: OPCW FFM Report on Douma"

I want to thank everybody and I have to say something meaningful in the end. First, I would like to thank our interpreters. We appreciate your being with us today overtime and thank you for the difficult job that you had to do this afternoon. Secondly, I would like really to thank delegations who came to this meeting and I was pleasantly surprised; it testifies to the interest that member states are paying to the subject that we discussed today. We were not naïve so as to believe that today’s meeting would change the positions of some of our opponents. But we wanted to give you evidence, evidence and facts, that are being neglected or silenced. And this is not disinformation. This is freedom of information. We know that those who do not want to hear will not listen to any arguments. “Full stop – and that’s it”, as our US colleagues said today.

Today’s discussions reveal one thing clearly – that something fishy is cooking in the OPCW. When we point at it, our colleagues tell us every time that OPCW, the 2013 Nobel peace prize laureate, is the gold standard of professionalism, integrity and impartiality. We would like it to be such and we adopted a PRST in November 2019 exactly aiming at this. Unfortunately, the impartiality and integrity of the OPCW TS is seriously questioned, and not just by us and other member states, as today’s presentation demonstrated. Members of the “Courage Foundation” can hardly be labeled as “Russian agents”. They are reputable personalities and include such figures as Jose Bustani, first OPCW DG, respectable members of academic community, former senior officials of the US and UK intelligence community, and such names as Noam Chomsky and Oliver Stone to name a few. (You were provided with a copy of their letter and related materials).

Why do some of our colleagues so vehemently defend the reports by the OPCW FFM, which some are believed were fabricated? Because any seed of doubt about chemical episodes conclusions would lead to challenging the expediency and legitimacy of already illegitimate missile attacks against a sovereign UN member state. In that light the Douma incident plays a key role. Because if it transpires that the FFM report was made up, it would lead to questioning earlier episodes like Khan-Shaykhun and others, which resulted in the termination of JIM.

When we are reminded that “Russia killed JIM” (today I also heard that), we on our part recall something that somehow goes forgotten. We recall that Russia was proposing to reform JIM to protect it from manipulations. But our proposal was flatly rejected.

And what kind of manipulations? I cannot but give you just one example. On the conclusion of JIM of an episode on an alleged aerial bombing in Sarmin, in 2015. The chlorine bomb was dropped from the altitude of 2 kilometers and went directly into the ventilation shaft of a residential building, the shaft that was just a few centimeters wider that the bomb itself. To our questions on the improbability of this and clear contradiction to the laws of physics and ballistics the then JIM answered: “Yes. It’s a miracle. But it happened.”

How can you believe in the credibility, impartiality and integrity of such a mechanism after such events? Once again, we have no illusions about the positions of member states, but we earnestly aimed at restoring the credibility of OPCW, which we see seriously compromised. Today evidence is a weakness tool. The aim was not to deflect, deny or disinform as somebody said. The aim was to present facts, facts and facts again. Our colleague from Viet Nam asked what to do next, what are the nest steps. I think that this issue must be discussed at the OPCW. Legitimate questions and issues that member states face should be addressed and discussed. The question why the first report of the OPCW FFM was shelled initially, and then disappeared and destroyed should be answered. So far we are denied – we and other member states – are denied such an opportunity.

In the end, I would like once again to thank you for your time, for participation. I hope that the meeting we organized was useful to all of us despite our sometimes opposite positions.

Thank you very much.