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West creating mechanism to discredit unfavorable states in OPCW, says Russian envoy

This file picture shows a general view of the headquarters of the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague, the Netherlands. (By Reuters)

Russia's Permanent Representative to the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Alexander Shulgin, says Western countries are formulating a mechanism in the international body in order to discredit states which they view as unfavorable.

“A mechanism for discrediting unfavorable states is being created in the OPCW by efforts of Western countries,” Shulgin told an OPCW member state conference on Tuesday.

He noted, “The scheme is simple, provocations are staged with the help of NGOs who are fostered by sponsor funds, primarily the infamous White Helmets. It is all actively hyped up by leading Western media outlets, while the OPCW structure is engaged later to legitimize all these fakes.”

The Russian diplomat highlighted that the climax of such attempts was “the draft decision on Syria which is unprecedented for the OPCW and the Chemical Weapons Convention.”

Shulgin’s remarks came as OPCW member states will weigh this week a French-drafted resolution, which seeks to suspend Syria's “rights and privileges” at The Hague-based agency, including its ability to vote, and ban Damascus from holding any offices within the global chemical weapons watchdog.

On April 15, Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Faisal Mekdad categorically dismissed the new OPCW report, stating that the United States and its allies have turned the international organization into a tool to pursue their political goals against Damascus.

A report by the OPCW’s so-called investigative arm claimed on April 12 that Syria’s air force had dropped a chlorine bomb on a residential neighborhood in the terrorist-controlled Idlib region.

The report further asserted no one was killed when the cylinder of chlorine gas, delivered in a barrel bomb, hit the al-Talil neighborhood in the city of Saraqib in February 2018.

Moscow and Damascus have on many occasions said members of the so-called White Helmets civil defense group stage gas attacks in a bid to falsely incriminate Syrian government forces and fabricate pretexts for military strikes by the US-led military coalition.

The group claims to be a humanitarian NGO but has long been accused of collaborating with anti-Damascus militants.

On April 14, 2018, the US, Britain and France carried out a string of airstrikes against Syria over a suspected chemical weapons attack on the city of Douma, located about 10 kilometers northeast of the capital Damascus.

Washington and its allies blamed Damascus for the Douma attack, a charge the Syrian government rejected.

Western governments and their allies have never stopped pointing the finger at Damascus whenever an apparent chemical attack takes place.

This is while Syria surrendered its stockpile of chemical weapons in 2014 to a joint mission led by the United States and the OPCW, which oversaw the destruction of the weaponry. It has consistently denied using chemical weapons.

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