PARIS (Sputnik) – Russia and Syria continue to deny officials of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) access to the site of the alleged chemical attack in Syria, the French Foreign Ministry said at a briefing Tuesday.
“At the moment, Russia and Syria continue to deny access to [OPCW] investigators who arrived in Syria on April 14. The evidence and the main elements are very likely to disappear,” the ministry said.
Paris urged Damascus to provide full, immediate and unhindered access to the OPCW investigators to “the places, people or documents for consultations.”
At the same time, the French Foreign Ministry noted that the OPCW investigators were not responsible for determining the individuals or entities behind the incident.
“Only a joint UN-OPCW investigation mechanism can do this, but its mandate has not been renewed because of Russia’s opposition in the UN Security Council,” the ministry underlined.
Earlier in the day, Russian Permanent Representative to the UN Office in Geneva Gennady Gatilov said that the Syrian authorities had created all conditions for the normal work of the OPCW in Syria’s Douma.
The statement came a day after the UK delegation to the OPCW said that Russia and Syria had not yet allowed access to the OPCW’s mission to Douma. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, however, refuted the allegations, saying that these were the consequences of the US airstrikes in Syria that hampered the efforts of the OPCW to probe the alleged attack in Douma.
Last Saturday, the United States, France, and the United Kingdom launched strikes on a number of targets in Syria in response to an alleged chemical attack in the Damascus suburb of Douma.
The attack came the same day that the OPCW mission was set to start the probe into the alleged chemical weapons use in Douma, which the West had immediately blamed on Damascus.
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