24 January 201823:12

Foreign Ministry statement on US allegations regarding chemical attacks in Syria


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On January 23, several high-ranking US officials made slanderous statements regarding the Russian Federation and the Syrian Arab Republic, claiming that Moscow and Damascus were responsible for the chemical weapons attacks in the course of the Syrian conflict. This amounts to a large-scale propaganda offensive aimed at demonising Russia and hindering a peaceful settlement in Syria.

The fact that executive US officials have no regard for elementary ethics is old news. But they have surpassed themselves with the statements they made yesterday.

Contrary to common sense, Russia and the legitimate Syrian authorities have been declared responsible for the January 22 chemical attacks in East Ghouta, even though the fact of this attack has not been confirmed yet. The only information regarding it comes from the ill-famed White Helmets, which have long been working hand in glove with terrorist groups and have discredited themselves by staging provocations and spreading blatant lies.

Even the Americans have never gone so far as to claim that “whoever conducted the attacks, Russia ultimately bears responsibility for the victims.” But now they are trying to convince the world, contrary to logic and without providing any proof, that Russia, which, unlike the United States, has destroyed its chemical stocks, is not only pandering to but bears responsibility for chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

They have also said cynically that Russia is unwilling to investigate chemical weapons attacks in Syria, although it is the Americans that are hindering an objective investigation, which is an established fact. The United States has chosen the right and wrong based on its own geopolitical ambitions and in keeping with secret agreements with the militant anti-government forces. We see that Washington is not interested in determining the truth and rejects any and all points of view that contradict its own.

The United States and its allies deliberately destroyed the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) in November last year by refusing to adjust its operation to the international standards of professionalism and objectivity. On January 23, US representatives at the UN Security Council meeting categorically rejected the Russian initiative on a new, nonpartisan and really effective mechanism that would replace the JIM. The Americans do not need any instruments for conducting honest investigations. What they need is new pretexts for accusing the Syrian authorities and, now, Russia.

We realise that the ongoing campaign, just as many others in the past, is designed to suit the questionable backstage initiatives of the United States and its allies. The evidence used in these campaigns comprises openly fake news such as social media reports that could be written and planted from beyond Syria.

As it often happened in the past, the alleged chemical attack in East Ghouta coincided with the International Partnership against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons, which has convened in Paris at the US-French initiative. This restricted format meeting, to which Russia has not been invited, attempts to replace the OPCW and to create an anti-Damascus bloc through the proliferation of lies. The ultimate goal of this meeting is obviously to hinder the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi in support of the UN-led talks in Geneva, as well as to derail the peace process in Syria because its parameters may be unacceptable to the Americans.

We are sure that many participants in the Paris meeting, where an attempt will be made to bind them through the signing of documents, are aware of the unscrupulousness of the authors of this “partnership.” We urge our colleagues to think hard about what the United States wants them to do and to dissociate themselves from a hazardous venture that has nothing in common with the meeting’s goals as stated by its organisers.

Washington has tried this trick many times before. Take the heinous sarin attack on Khan Sheikhoun in April 2017, regarding which the Russian Foreign Ministry has issued many detailed comments, including on January 19, 2018. The United States has put the blame for it on the Syrian government forces at once and without a second thought.

Russian and independent international experts have conclusively disproved the groundless claims by the Americans and their confederates. Unlike our opponents, we are not working from allegations but based on a full-scale professional analysis of all available circumstances of that dramatic incident, which the Americans used as a pretext for delivering a missile strike at the at the Shayrat Airbase of the Syrian government in violation of international law. It was an act of US aggression against a sovereign state.

We have pointed out repeatedly that the Americans knew the chemical composition of sarin produced within the framework of Syria’s former military chemical programme, because the United States destroyed its basic binary component DF (methylphosphoryldifluoride) aboard the specially modified US vessel Cape Ray in 2014. There are grounds to suspect that some people in Washington who were involved in that operation could have shared the recipe with the organisers of the provocation in Khan Sheikhoun.

For the past three years, we proposed adopting a UN Security Council resolution or a statement by the UNSC President denouncing chemical terrorist attacks in the Middle East. We said that the international community must open its eyes to reality, because terrorists not only use chemical warfare agents but have also acquired the capability to produce them. But the United States and its allies blocked and continue to block this Russian initiative.

Facts speak for themselves, and the allegations made by US officials will not become a reality even if they are repeated many times. The US stubborn desire to enact in Syria the scenario previously applied in the former Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya is glaringly obvious. The international community should seriously ponder the current developments. And Washington should think about where its policy of destroying relations with Russia can lead it. Is this really in the interests of the American people?

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