Damascus continues to deny visa to weapons inspector: OPCW

QAMISHLI, Syria (North Press) – The Syrian government denies to grant visa to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) inspectors, OPCW said yesterday. 

“Damascus was also continuing to deny a visa to an OPCW weapons inspector, leading the organization to refuse to deploy a team there,” OPCW Director-General Mr. Fernando Arias said.

This took place in a conference of the OPCW member states, in the Dutch city of The Hague.

The Syrian government did not cooperate with the OPCW team by not declaring about the fully stockpile of chemical weapons and it “still cannot be considered accurate and complete.”

“I have invited the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Syria to an in-person meeting,” to discuss violations of the chemical weapons embargo in Syria, he pointed out during the conference.

On April 21, OPCW member states stripped Syria of its OPCW voting rights after a probe blamed it for poison gas attacks in Idlib.

The proposal was initiated by 46 out of 193 member countries on the OPCW’s governing Conference of States Parties, including Britain, France and the United States.

It passed by 87 votes in favor to 15 against, meeting the required two-thirds majority of votes, while 34 out of 136 countries abstained from voting.

Iran, Russia and Syria were among those to vote against.

OPCW Director-General stressed that Syria will remain stripped of its rights to vote until it has fully declared its chemical weapons and weapons-making facilities.

“To date, Syria has not implemented any of these measures,” Arias said, adding that Damascus’ statements regarding the chemical weapons “cannot always be considered accurate and complete.”

In 2013, Syria joined the Chemical Weapons Convention at Russia’s behest.

Damascus announced the destruction of its stockpile of chemical weapons in 2014, which is still in dispute amid accusations of three chemical attacks in 2017.

On April 12, the OPCW released the results of the second report by its Investigation and Identification Team (IIT), which is responsible for identifying the perpetrators of the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

The report has determined the Syrian government as the perpetrator for the use of chemical weapons in Saraqib in the countryside of Idlib, northwest Syria, on February 4, 2018.