Syria’s permanent representative to the United Nations says Washington is seeking to discredit his country and exert political pressure on the Damascus government by manipulating reports compiled by the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
Speaking at a UN Security Council meeting in New York on Monday, Bassam Sabbagh said serious flaws in the OPCW fact-finding mission’s reports on Syria have tarnished the image of the international body.
“Washington’s prior information about the outcomes of the mission’s investigations attests to the involvement of Western countries in the compilation of its report in order to exert political pressure,” the Syrian diplomat said.
He called on the technical secretariat of the global chemical weapons watchdog to work professionally and refrain from incomplete and inaccurate information, which hostile countries use as a pretext to make false accusations against Syria.
‘Syria firmly opposes use of chemical weapons’
Sabbagh then reiterated his country’s vehement opposition to the use of chemical weapons under any circumstance.
“Syria cooperates positively with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and hopes that the organization would rectify its approach and restore its technical nature,” he noted.
The Syrian diplomat stressed that Syria stands firmly committed to UN Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004), which says all states shall refrain from providing any form of support to non-state actors that attempt to develop, acquire, manufacture, possess, transport, transfer or use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their means of delivery, in particular for terrorist purposes.
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, which claims to be a humanitarian NGO, 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.
According to concealed OPCW documents that were revealed later, the investigators of the Douma incident had found “no evidence” of a chemical weapons attack.
However, the organization censored the findings under pressure from the US and its allies to conceal evidence undermining the pretext of the ensuing US-led bombing of Syria.
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.