Russia disappointed by OPCW's vote results of investigation proposal on Syrian chemical attack
MOSCOW, April 20 (Xinhua) -- The results of the vote determined by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on a draft decision to launch a new investigation into a suspected chemical attack in Syria was disappointing and was done under far-fetched and unconvincing pretexts, the Russian Foreign Ministry said late Thursday.
The OPCW convened earlier on the day to vote on the proposal put forward by Russia and Iran on the immediate beginning of a full investigation into the April 4 chemical attack in Syria's Idlib Province. According to the British delegation to the OPCW, the organization's executive council has "overwhelmingly rejected" the proposal.
"The results of the vote that just took place upset us... It should be said directly that the opponents of the proposal were primarily from the Western group." Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the OPCW and Ambassador Alexander Shulgin, said in remarks published on the ministry's website.
Shulgin questioned the credibility of the ongoing investigation conducted by the OPCW, specifying that it is unclear where, how and when their samples were selected, especially since the fact-finding mission itself never left for Syria.
"The fact that the delegations of some countries, primarily from the Western group, are always shying away from accepting the solution proposed by us and the Iranians, suggest that they are in fact not interested in establishing the truth." Shulgin said, adding that the Russian side is willing to take any measures that it deems appropriate to shed light on what happened in Khan Sheikhun.
The OPCW Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü said Wednesday that the organization's fact-finding mission of the investigation into the chemical attack has found traces of sarin gas in the victims' bodies.
Earlier on Thursday, the Russian Defense Ministry called the statement a "hasty" conclusion, saying that it raises big questions.
"Who took the samples, from where, and how ? Who precisely in the OPCW examined the bioassays?... If there really was Sarin in Khan Sheikhun, how can the OPCW explain White Helmets charlatans jumping in the vapor of Sarin without any protection means? Everybody saw it." the ministry's spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said.
"We would like to receive from Ahmet Üzümcü distinct answers to all these questions as soon as possible," he added.
"Only carrying out an objective investigation of the incident on the spot, in Khan Sheikhun, will help to establish the truth about the issues of what really happened there, and who should bear responsibility for it." Konashenkov said.
The White Helmets, a volunteer organization that operates in Syria's rebel-controlled areas with funding from the U.S., the UK and other western governments, has been repeatedly accused by the Russian Foreign Ministry of producing fake reports.