23 November 201817:03

Statement of head of Russian delegation Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of Russia Georgy Kalamanov at the 23rd Session of the Conference of the States Parties to Chemical Weapons Convention on item 8 (presentation of Russian-Chinese draft decision “Preserving the integrity of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons”)


Unofficial translation

Mr. Chairman,

Mr. Director-General,

Distinguished Delegates,

First of all, we are compelled to reiterate our principled position regarding the illegitimacy of the Decision made at the Fourth Special Session of CSP in June that was voted on and provides for entrusting the OPCW with improper attributive functions that infringe on competences of the UN Security Council.

We still believe that attribution is not provided for in the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, goes beyond the scope of responsibilities of the OPCW as a whole and the Conference specifically. We are convinced that any initiative to change the regime of the Convention have to be adopted in accordance with the order outlined in Article XV of the Convention proper.

Without prejudice to the aforementioned position we would like to express the following opinion. We have acquainted ourselves with the proposals of the Technical Secretariat prepared in implementation and in development of the abovementioned decision. We note that concerns that we expressed have proven to be relevant.

Our position on specific provisions of the Program and Budget document for year 2019 has already been voiced in the Executive Council.

Proposals prepared by the Director General in implementation of pp. 20 and 21 of the June decision that have been disseminated just the other day also raise a lot of questions. In particular, the idea that the Technical Secretariat plans to undertake all those activities without due control from OPCW governing bodies. States Parties are only supposed to be informed on the steps taken by the  Technical Secretariat – those being far-reaching and requiring additional funding.

The Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China have developed and submitted draft  decision “Preserving the integrity of the Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons” which to our mind provides the only possible way out of the situation at hand when assessments of legitimacy of attribution in OPCW are drastically different.

The situation is that several delegations categorically reject the possibility of attribution in OPCW. Implementation of pp. 10, 12, 16, 18, 19, 20, and 21 of the decision made at the Fourth Special Session in the view of Russia, China and a lot of other States Parties may directly involve cornerstone provisions of the Convention and therefore undermine confidence in activities of the Organisation and its bodies as well.

In this regard Russia and China propose to charge the Executive Council with forming an open-ended group of experts (and include specialists on international law, first and foremost) that would consider the activities and proposals of the Technical Secretariat to implement the aforementioned Decision. This experts group would provide its reasoned conclusion whether attributive activities are in line with provisions of the Convention. The Chair of the group would prepare an outcome report and present it to the governing bodies of the Organisation.

Only with conclusions drawn by respected specialists can we have a discussion if it is legal to launch an attribution mechanism in the OPCW.

Thank you.

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