Netherlands: Visual materials to prove alleged chemical attack 'staged' — Russian OPCW rep

Alexander Shulgin, Russian Representative at the Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons stated that Russia has distributed visual materials at the OPCW Executive Council meeting «to prove the incident in Douma was of a staged character,» while speaking in The Hague on Monday. Shulgin stated that Western countries, especially NATO member states, «chained together with block discipline... Еще», didn't want to hear arguments voiced by the Russian side. However, he stressed that it was the United States who were trying to tie up a full scale investigation by launching «treacherous strikes» on Syria in alliance with Great Britain and France, while the OPCW expert mission was on the way from Beirut to Damascus. Shulgin also expressed his doubts of what Washington and London called success in hitting secret chemical weapons facilities in Syria, as no traces of chemical contamination had been detected after the missile strikes. The Russian Permanent Representative to the OPCW said that investigation team would be able to start substantive work in Douma in the next two days after security issues have been solved, noting that the Syrian side would like Russian military police to accompany the experts. He underlined that a «compromise» document, drafted by Russia and Iran during the Monday session and calling OPCW member states to contribute to the investigation in Syria, was rejected by representatives of Western countries and especially his counterpart from the US. On April 10, the OPCW decided to deploy a team of its experts to carry out an investigation on the ground in the eastern suburb of the Syrian capital, as several Western powers, led by the United States, claimed chemical substances, most likely chlorine and sarin, were used by the Syrian government forces on April 7. The claim has been denied by Damascus and Moscow. Russian authorities have since announced that their officers from the Centre for Reconciliation of the Opposing Parties in Syria had visited Douma on April 9 but had not found any trace of chemical weapons used there.

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