Supplies of toxic substances to Syria from the United Kingdom and the United States, should they be proved, will be considered a violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya said on Wednesday, commenting on Damascus’s statement that such weapons have been found at arms depots abandoned by militants.
He said that at Wednesday’s closed-door meeting of the United Nations Security Council had not discussed this topic. “I saw it on the news, but we did not discuss it,” he said after the meeting.
When asked by TASS whether such supplies could be seen as a violation of the convention, he answered in the positive. “Naturally, but we must have evidence proving it,” he added.
In his words, the Joint Mechanism of the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons can be tasked to investigate these reports. “It might be within the competences of the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism,” the Russian diplomat noted.
On Wednesday, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said at a news conference that chemical weapons from the United Kingdom and United States had been found in areas liberated from terrorists. He particularly mentioned hand grenades and munitions for grenade launchers filled with the CN and CS gas.
According to Mekdad, these chemical weapons were produced by the US Federal Laboratories and Non-Lethal Technologies, as well as by UK’s Cherming Defence. He reminded that under Article 5 of the Chemical Weapons Convention irritants can be used only as an anti-riot means and are prohibited as a means of warfare.
A spokesman for the UK permanent mission to the United Nations told TASS earlier that the country was supplying lethal weapons, including chemical, to neither of the warring parties in Syria.
The Fact-Finding Mission of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism are investigating reports about the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
A well-informed source from the UN told TASS that representatives from the latter are going to visit Syria next week to examine the weapons found at militants’ arms depots.