US used misinformation, intimidation to secure OPCW vote it sought, says envoy

21 November 2018 — TASS

There is also a “group of supporting nations”, Alexander Shulgin said

THE HAGUE, November 21. /TASS/. The United States engaged in a campaign of misinformation and intimidation of small nations to secure the result it needed in the vote on financing an OPCW attribution mechanism, Russian Permanent Representative to the OPCW Alexander Shulgin told journalists on Wednesday.

“The US with a group of supporting nations carried out a misinformation campaign, instilling the idea that Russia was allegedly … leaving the organization penniless,” he said. The US used unscrupulous methods to make sure that “exotic states from the Pacific region, from the Caribbean” vote in The Hague the way it wanted.

“The US was employing unprecedented pressure and even intimidation. We learned about the documents that Western activists were circulating in capital cities of some countries. The list of four questions to vote on correctly at the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention and bar “subversive activities of Russia,” he said.

“We saw these documents with our own eyes, they were then duplicated individually and even handed over [to small nations] on behalf of the European Union, a huge propaganda campaign was launched,” the Russian envoy said.

“All that happened is Pyrrhic victory of a group of Western nations. Huge damage has been done to the organization that until recently was an efficient and successful forum on disarmament, and even received the Nobel Peace Prize for this,” he summed up.

At the conference that ended in The Hague on Tuesday, the OPCW made another step towards the implementation of plans by the US and the UK to vest it with the attributive function (the right to name those responsible for the use of chemical weapons). The conference passed a new budget for 2019, envisaging 2.4 million euros for establishing the mechanism of attribution.

Russia, China, India, Kazakhstan, Iran and several other nations come out against this initiative, explaining that first of all, this mechanism duplicates the functions of the UN Security Council, and secondly, it undermines the very essence of the OPCW activity, which has always been engaged in an expert, purely technical work.

On Tuesday, OPCW member nations turned down Russia’s and China’s initiative to set up an international team of experts to check the OPCW secretariat’s decision on the establishment of the so-called attributive mechanism that would be tasked to identify those to blame for chemical attacks. After that, the delegates voted to increase the organization’s budget for 2019 by 2.4 million euro, to 69.7 million euro. The extra funds are supposed to be spent on the establishment of the attributive mechanism.

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