17:08 GMT +318 November 2017
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    Moscow: US Position Over Probe Into Chemical Weapons in Syria Unacceptable

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    The Russian Foreign Ministry has responded to the White House's accusations of Moscow trying to get rid of a UN-OPCW body researching the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria.

    "I would not want to follow the path of an emotional response, although it suggests itself. Speaking of the content, it is generally accepted in decent society before making any accusations, to at least try to sort out what happened," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said, responding to a request to comment on the accusations of the White House.

    Ryabkov named US influence as one of the main reasons that has prevented the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism from fulfilling its mandate.

    "Unfortunately, not without the influence of the United States, the instruments that are called upon to establish the truth, namely the relevant OPCW mission and the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism, were unable to properly fulfill their mandate, fulfill what they were instructed to," Ryabkov told reporters.

    According to the diplomat, Russia will present its analysis of the JIM report later in the day.

    "Today, representatives of the Russian defense and foreign ministries will scrutinize this report from every angle … Our side will voice details, I do not think there are grounds for further polemics with the United States, the facts and our conclusions will speak for themselves," Ryabkov told reporters.

    Ryabkov underlined that Moscow believes it is necessary to take urgent measures to free the investigation from "US dictates."

    "[This] only strengthens our conviction that it is necessary to take emergent and radical measures for freeing the JIM, as well as activities related to the issue in general, from the manacles of the US position, from the dictate, used by the United States in such a significant area, which is so tragic, and politically tense to the highest extent," the diplomat added.

    Report of UN-Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Joint Investigative Mechanism (OPCW-UN JIM)

    Earlier, Moscow had blocked a US-drafted UN Security Council resolution to renew the panel's mandate before it concluded the seventh report on the 2017 attack in the village of Khan Sheikhoun and the 2016 incident in Um-Housh.

    READ MORE: OPCW-UN Syria Sarin Attack Probe Based on Staged Proof, Professor Tells Sputnik

    Two days later, the UN-Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Joint Investigative Mechanism (OPCW-UN JIM) released its findings. which claimed that the Syrian government had been responsible for the attack and deaths of more than 80 people. Its mandate expires on November 17.

    READ MORE: Russia Says UN-OPCW Syria's Khan Sheikhoun Report Looks Like "Amateur Document"

    The US was going to appeal to the UN to renew the JIM's mandate and consequently blames countries that "fail to support the work" of the body, calling it a direct opposition to international standards.

    Moscow has come under criticism after Russian Envoy to the UN Vassily Nebenzia explained the decision. According to him, the fate of the independent body, which was established by a unanimous UN Security Council vote, would be decided in due time once it was determined that the investigation was being conducted in a professional manner.

    The Khan Sheikhoun incident, described in the report, took place in Syria's Idlib province on April 4, 2017, claiming the lives of more than 80 people and injuring 200. Soon after the accident the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, supported by the United States, accused the Syrian government of the use chemical weapons against civilians. The latter has refuted these allegations, saying that the country had fully destroyed its arsenal and it had been confirmed by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

    Russia has also repeatedly reiterated this position, calling for a fair and thorough investigation in the Khan Sheikhoun accident.

    In his April interview with Sputnik, Syrian President Bashar Assad called the accusations false, claiming that there were no chemical weapons in Idlib and the reports were a fabrication aimed at justifying a US missile strike on the Syrian airbase.

    Tags:
    UN’s Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), UN Security Council, Syria, Russia
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