Welcoming remarks by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at an Arria-formula meeting of UNSC member states "Implementation of UNSCR 2118: OPCW FFM Report on Douma"
Many of you have heard that Russia complains about the "rules-based order" and says it contradicts the international law. Have some patience today and you will have an exciting journey to the world of the "rules-based order". I promise that it will not be dull and you will not be yawning during our meeting as presentations will offer you some clues into this wonderful new world.
Since not so long time ago some of our colleagues invented a new paradigm, the world of “highly likely”, the world behind the looking glass.
It is very simple, and I have to admit, it is very effective. One has just to name the guilty, even without presenting any evidence, and enjoy the support of its numerous allies who eagerly cry “wolf” in unison.
And who is the wolf? Most often today, it’s Russia. Despite that, Russia is not a wolf, but traditionally, a bear.
Besides Russia, there are a few more wolves. Syria, for example, which is accused of using chemical weapons, weapons of mass destruction, the use of which is inadmissible and unjustifiable under any circumstances.
Syria has surrendered its chemical arsenal in 2013-2014 and has become a member of the OPCW. Nevertheless, it continues to be accused of using chemical weapons against its own population. Our repeated questions what dividends it gives the Syrian Government on the battlefield, especially in a situation when it already was winning the war against terrorism and was the least interested to call for fire against itself, are left unanswered. But these accusations led to missile attacks by the US in 2017 and later by the US, France and UK in 2018.
The so called Sarin chemical episode in Khan-Sheikhun was the reason for a US missile attack in April 2017. Despite inconclusive and fake evidence where people ran around sarin-bomb crater unprotected and no remains of the aerial bomb were found and many other inconsistencies, the Syrian Government was named guilty by the Joint Investigation Mechanism, which led to the demise of JIM, because it compromised itself with flawed and biased conclusions in the style of “highly likely”. And “highly likely” was present in report by the way.
If I invoked the style of “highly likely”, I can’t but refer to another episode of this foul game. The Skpical case. I will not go into it in detail, but simply remind you one instance. With Skripals going around Salisbury already contaminated with a deadly chemical agent early morning and suddenly, after hours of walking around, collapsing on a bench in a park, only to be immediately rescued by the chief chemical nurse of the British Army who coincidentally happened to be nearby. And that is without being contaminated herself.
But now we come to the center of our today’s discussion. The chemical incident in Syrian Douma. Why is it so important? Because it was a justification of missile strikes by the US, France and the UK in April 2018, who immediately named the Syrian Government guilty. The inspectors of OPCW FFM were dispatched to the mission in Douma and were able to conduct their investigation soon after the strikes were over.
They did conduct investigations, took the samples and left for the Hague to write a report. And then started the mystery. And I ask you to listen to it. And I promise, you will enjoy the exciting journey.
Some of our colleagues do not like it. They call it “a Russian disinformation campaign”.
Even today we received a press-release of the UK mission to the UN where it claims that (quote) “Russia has chosen to use its privileged platform to try and discredit the well-respected OPCW and its staff” (unquote).
Listen to the presentations and decide for yourselves what we are trying to do – to discredit the OPCW or to find out the truth, restore trust in the Organization. Trust, seriously undermined in recent years. And now I would like to give the floor to Alexander Shulgin, Russian Ambassador in the Netherlands.
After the statement by the U.S. representative:
I wish the distinguished Representatives of United States were able to be here in the room to hear in person whether it was a disinformation campaign or something different. If she listened to the presentation, I know, it would not have changed statement that she read out but still. By the way, I am going into polemics but just for the record. The arrival of the OPCW inspectors to Douma was delayed not because the Russians were not letting them in. But because they were not getting clearance on security grounds due to missile attacks by the United States, France and the UK. That is what prevented the inspectors from arriving as early as they could. Although we were calling for that all the time.
After statement by the UK representative:
I thank the distinguished Representative of the United Kingdom and I do not think that it is appropriate for the Chair of the Arria Formula to engage in exchanges with countries that make their statements and I respect that right. On Humpty-Dumpty. I just want to say one thing, that Humpty-Dumpty, as we know, “sat on a wall, had a great fall and all the king’s horses, all the king’s men, couldn’t put Humpty together again”. I mean, that is exactly what happened to FFM report. Exactly. There was one report initially and then there was a Humpty-Dumpty and we had another report, which is the reason why we are discussing it here today. I will not go into the discussion of individual episodes that my distinguished British colleague raised. I do not think the meeting is about that.
After statement by the German representative:
I thank the distinguished Representative of Germany. I do not think you will be able to find open sources quote from Mr. Grigoriev that Ukraine invaded Russia. If you do, then share it with me, I will be very surprised to see it. But you will definitely find in the open press accounts, not just by Mr.Grigoriev, on the torture that happens in the southeast Ukraine. That is not something that we invented. That is in the open press. We know what the Ukrainian army and the national brigades and special services are doing to people who are in Ukrainian prisons. They are being tortured there, there is much, plenty of evidence about that. And if you are interested I can provide you with some additional, extra information.