Comment by the Information and Press Department on US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley’s statement concerning the OPCW Special Mission’s report on the use of chemical weapons in Syria

june 30, 2017

We have noted the hasty reaction of the United States Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley to the final report by the Special Mission of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) concerning the April 4, 2017 incident in Khan Shaykhun. On June 29, senior officials of the OPCW Technical Secretariat circulated the report among the five permanent UN Security Council members.
Like Ms Haley, we were not surprised that the report confirms the fact of using sarin or a similar toxic agent in that area. We agree that it is time now for the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) in Syria to meticulously investigate all circumstances of this crime and identify the culprits under UN Security Council resolutions 2235 (2015) and 2319 (2016).
At the same time, we are surprised, to put it mildly, by the US Ambassador’s “enthusiasm” over the “indisputable truth” that has allegedly been established by the OPCW Special Mission. In our opinion, a number of statements in the report dealing with the Idlib tragedy are hardly indisputable. They indirectly prompt readers who are unaware of all circumstances of this case to draw only one conclusion: Syrian government forces are responsible for this incident.
We are determined to study the report at the expert level in an extremely meticulous manner and to voice the resulting assessments at a special session of the OPCW’s Executive Council, scheduled for July 5, 2017, and also at a UN Security Council meeting on this issue.
Unfortunately, an initial examination of this document prompts us to state that its conclusions are still based on rather dubious data obtained from the Syrian opposition and the so-called NGOs, including the White Helmets. This data was obtained in some neighbouring country, rather than at the site. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that the contents of the OPCW Special Mission’s report are largely biased, which suggests that the activities of this organisation are politically motivated.
It is to be hoped that our JIM colleagues will display the utmost professionalism and political impartiality during their upcoming investigation of the high-profile incident in Khan Shaykhun and expose the real culprits guilty of committing this crime. The same goes for other incidents in the endless reoccurrence of chemical terrorist attacks in Syria and the entire Middle East region. We also hope that JIM experts will visit the site of this chemical attack, as well as Syria’s Shayrat Airbase which is being persistently but groundlessly linked with this attack. As the latest events show, this base continues to disturb Washington.