Posts Tagged ‘Uzumcu’

Era of preposterous lies: Russian FM threatens to ‘hit back’ at Britain over spy poisoning — Russia has “chosen to be a strategic competitor.” — “Use of chemical weapons shows disdain for international law and norms.”

March 21, 2018

Image result for photos, lavrov and zarif

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov. REUTERS – Sergei Karpukhin FILE PHOTO

TOKYO (AFP) – Russia’s foreign minister threatened Wednesday to retaliate against Britain for “anti-Russian measures”, with the two countries at loggerheads over the poisoning of a spy in southern England.

Speaking after a meeting with Japanese counterpart Taro Kono, Lavrov said: “If the British government continues taking some anti-Russian measures, we will hit back under the principle of reciprocity.”

Lavrov urged the British government to “respond calmly” over the March 4 attack on former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who remain in critical condition.

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has long been part of Putin’s inner circle.  — AFP File PHOTO

Britain says only Russia had the capability, motive and intent to be behind the attack, which used the nerve agent Novichok reportedly developed by the former Soviet Union.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed this as “nonsense”.

Britain reacted by expelling 23 Russian diplomats and their families — around 80 people in total — and has also cut off high-level contacts.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May said London was “actively considering” other measures.

On Tuesday, the head of the OPCW chemical watchdog said it would take two to three weeks to complete laboratory analysis of samples taken from the poisoning.

The affair has poisoned Russia’s already shaky relations with many Western countries.

The EU has expressed its solidarity with Britain and leaders at a summit later this week will agree to “coordinate on the consequences” for Russia, according to a draft statement seen by AFP.

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis suggested on Tuesday that Moscow’s suspected involvement shows Russia has “chosen to be a strategic competitor.”

However, President Donald Trump skipped the issue when congratulating Putin on his re-election and proposed a summit in the “not-too-distant future.”

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe voiced “outrage” over the attack in a call to May, according to her office.

Skripal, 66, a former Russian officer who sold secrets to Britain and moved there in a 2010 spy swap, remains in a coma along with his 33-year-old daughter after they were found unconscious on a bench in Salisbury.

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A police cordon outside the Mill pub in Salisbury, Wiltshire, Britain, 19 March 2018, where former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, had a drink. EPA-EFE

UNITED NATIONS: The head of the OPCW chemical watchdog said Tuesday that it will take two to three weeks to complete laboratory analysis of samples taken from the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain.

A team of experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has arrived in Britain to collect samples of what London says was the Soviet-made nerve agent Novichok.

Russia has denied any involvement in the March 4 attack on former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who remain in critical condition in the English city of Salisbury.

OPCW chief Ahmet Uzumcu said the samples will be sent to the organization’s main laboratory in The Hague and then to designated labs for analysis.

It will take “another two to three weeks to finalize the analysis,” Uzumcu told reporters.

Asked whether the analysis would be able to determine whether the agent was Novichok, Uzumcu said he did not want to prejudge the outcome of the scientific work.

The OPCW chief was in New York to brief the United Nations Security Council on chemical weapons use in Syria, but he also touched on the Salisbury attack during the closed-door meeting. –AFP

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Russian blockade of Syrian chemical attacks probe prevents chemical weapons watchdog of UN from bringing international criminals to account

November 25, 2017
“Those responsible for the use of chemical weapons must be held accountable…”

 

Syrians flee following a reported government airstrike in Hamouria, in the Eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus. (AFP/file)

THE HAGUE: The head of the international chemical weapons watchdog said Friday that Russia’s veto of UN Security Council resolutions to extend the mandate of an investigation team that lays blame for chemical attacks in Syria “creates a gap which needs to be addressed by the international community.”

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The mandate of the Joint Investigative Mechanism, or JIM, set up by the UN and Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) expired earlier this month after the Syrian government’s staunch ally Russia blocked efforts to extend its mandate.
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© AFP/File / by Maria PANINA | This Syrian child was among the victims of a suspected sarin gas attack in Khan Sheikhun on April 4, which a UN report has blamed on the regime of Bashar al-Assad

Russia has been highly critical of the JIM’s findings that the Syrian government used chlorine gas in at least two attacks in 2014 and 2015 and used the nerve agent sarin in an aerial attack on Khan Sheikhoun last April 4 that killed about 100 people and affected about 200 others.

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The JIM also accused Daesh of using mustard gas in 2015 and again in September 2016 in Um Hosh in Aleppo.
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OPCW Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu lamented the end of the JIM.
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“It is unfortunate that the mandate of this mechanism is not extended and clearly that creates a gap which needs to be addressed by the international community,” he told The Associated Press.
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Members of the OPCW’s Executive Council were scheduled to meet later Friday to debate their response to the report.
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A draft decision put forward by the US, Colombia, Estonia and Saudi Arabia is expected to be discussed.
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It calls for the council to demand that the Syrian government immediately stop using chemical weapons and to express “its strong conviction that those responsible for the use of chemical weapons must be held accountable,” according to a copy of the draft text seen by The Associated Press.
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Executive Council decisions are generally adopted by consensus, but with the US and its allies at loggerheads with Russia and its supporters, it is likely to be put to a vote.
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Russia and Iran also filed a draft decision for the council earlier this month calling for a “full scale, professional, and high quality investigation” in Khan Sheikhoun, including a site visit.
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“There are serious differences of view on the issues that are being discussed because it’s somehow the extension of the conflict which is still underway in Syria,” Uzumcu said.
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The OPCW has a fact-finding mission, which works to confirm allegations of chemical attacks in Syria, but does not apportion blame.
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Uzumcu said that there are allegations of more than 80 different uses of chemicals as weapons over the last two years.
“The list is long,” he said.
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Uzumcu said that mission will continue, including a visit to Damascus soon to look into Syrian government claims of attacks by fighters.
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Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan meet in Sochi, Russia, on November 22, 2017

‘Serious concern’ That Syria Used Gas Attack On Enemies of the Assad Regime

March 25, 2015

AFP

The world’s chemical watchdog on Wednesday said it is monitoring “with serious concern” reports alleging that Damascus unleashed a chlorine gas attack in northwestern Syria earlier this month.

“We have been monitoring the recent reports suggesting that toxic chemicals may have been used as weapons in the Idlib province in Syria,” Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons chief Ahmet Uzumcu said.

“The matter is of serious concern,” Uzumcu said in a statement, issued at the OPCW’s Hague-based headquarters.

A young man breathes with an oxygen mask on March 17, 2015 at a clinic in the village of Sarmin, southeast of Idlib, Syria, following reports of suffocation ...

A young man breathes with an oxygen mask on March 17, 2015 at a clinic in the village of Sarmin, southeast of Idlib, Syria, following reports of suffocation cases related to an alleged regime gas attack in the area. Photo credit Mohamad Zeen (AFP/File)

A monitoring group and opposition activists said six people, including three young children, were killed in the alleged regime gas attack in the village of Sarmin, in Idlib province 10 days ago.

The attack prompted outrage from rights group Amnesty International, which said it was further evidence of regime “war crimes”.

Activists have accused the Syrian regime of using chlorine — a toxic agent that can be considered a chemical weapon — on civilian areas in the past.

A report by the OPCW in January concluded “with a high degree of confidence” that chlorine gas had been used in attacks on three villages in Syria last year.

At least 13 people died in the attacks that were carried out from April to August, according to the report.

A chlorine-tinged cloud of smoke rises into the air from a bomb detonated by Iraqi army and Shi'ite fighters from Hashid Shaabi forces, in the Iraqi town of al-Alam

A chlorine-tinged cloud of smoke rises into the air from a bomb detonated by Iraqi army and Shi’ite fighters from Hashid Shaabi forces, in the Iraqi town of al-Alam Photo: AFP/Getty
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Uzumcu said Wednesday the OPCW would continue a current fact-finding mission into the use of “toxic chemicals for hostile purposes” in Syria.

After an August 2013 sarin attack outside Damascus that much of the international community blamed on President Bashar al-Assad’s government, the regime agreed to turn over its chemical arsenal.

But Syria did not have to declare its stockpile of chlorine — a toxic agent that can be considered a chemical weapon — as part of a disarmament deal agreed in 2013 because it is widely used for commercial and domestic purposes.

The Assad regime and the rebels have accused each other of using chemical agents, including chlorine, in the nearly four-year war that has killed more than 210,000 people.

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