Russian effort to prevent an investigation into the use of chemical weapons in Syria has failed

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Russia’s efforts to block the funding of a new team to probe the alleged perpetrators of chemical weapons attacks in Syria have failed after the International Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) voted overwhelmingly to approve the new budget.

Moscow and its allies have sought to halt the agency’s next year’s budget if the budget includes funding for a new fact-finding team, which would have meant the agency’s inability to function.

But 106 member states voted on Thursday to approve the new budget, which was seen as a vote of confidence in the activities of the Organization, against 19 countries, including Russia and China voted against.

“In light of this result, the 2020 budget has been adopted,” the president of the conference of member states said to applause.

Last year, 99 countries voted in favor of the budget and 27 rejected it.

The total budget of the International Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons for 2020 is approximately 71 million euros ($ 76 million), 1.8 percent more than the 2019 budget and includes funding for the new fact-finding team.

The United States has accused Russia of “covering up” the use of its ally Damascus chemical weapons, at the annual meeting of the 193 members of the Organization in The Hague.

“Russia would like to express deep regret,” a Russian envoy said at the meeting.

“Once again we find ourselves in a situation where a number of Member States choose not to take into account the opinion of the Russian Federation and a number of major shareholders.”

Syria also condemned the resolution, saying it “rejects political blackmail from the United States and its Western allies.”

However, Britain said in a tweet that the approval of the budget “clear evidence of the support of the organization and its basic work, including addressing impunity for the use of (chemical weapons).”

– Cover up on Syria –

There have been numerous confrontations between Russia and the West over allegations by informants that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) changed the investigation’s findings that chlorine was used in an attack in the Syrian city of Douma in April 2018.

Western powers have launched air strikes based on the findings of the investigation.

The OIC countries then agreed to a Western-backed proposal in 2018 to give the organization new powers to blame the perpetrators. In the past, the organization could only confirm whether the chemical attack occurred.

US ambassador to the organization Kenneth Ward said earlier that “covering up Syria will never work because the international community has the courage of its convictions. Unfortunately, Russia has played a key role in this cover-up.”

“Although Russia and Syria are sitting here with us, they are very separate from us.” They continue to adopt chemical weapons. ”

At the same time, France has always defended the “independent and impartial” investigation.

“We regret that some delegations have given more importance to the partial leaks than the strictly prepared report,” said the Deputy Permanent Representative of France to FAO, Tevin Goffroy.

At the end of the week, Wikileaks published an e-mail from an investigator accusing the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) of altering the original findings of the investigation to make evidence of a chemical attack appear more conclusive. Another leaked report earlier this year questioned Douma’s investigation.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013 and says it has removed 97 per cent of the world’s chemical weapons.

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