By Ambassador Yakovenko for RT:
On April 18, in response to a statement by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on British experts at Porton Down lab having analyzed some samples taken at the site of the chemical incident in Khan Sheikhoun, we have asked the Foreign Office to provide us with the information on its unilateral investigation. In particular, we requested information on what kind of samples and where were taken and whether the OPCW’s key requirement of chain of custody was observed during the collection of evidence. If the British side had access to the scene of the incident, why wouldn’t it provide such an access for the OPCW experts? We have not received any reply so far.
Meanwhile, at the OPCW Executive Committee’s extraordinary session in The Hague on 21 April, the Western countries blocked the Russo-Iranian draft decision on an impartial and independent international investigation into the incident in Khan Sheikhoun. The West, with the support of OPCW Director General Mr Ahmet Üzümcü, insisted that it would be “harmful” and that everything was clear and we mustn’t question the competence of the experts of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission responsible for investigation of all credible allegations of chemical weapons use in Syria, which is, by the way, headed by British representatives. In fact, it was said that the line had been drawn and that the British side had incontrovertible proof of the Syrian government’s complicity in the chemical incident.
The meaning of what was actually going on was in fact explained by Boris Johnson in his interview with the Today program on BBC Radio 4. The Foreign Secretary stated that upon a request of the US Administration, in case of a new chemical incident in Syria, the British Government would be ready to participate in US-led military action – even without approval by Parliament, which will be dissolved on 2nd May due to the forthcoming snap elections. It is good that Downing Street refuted this statement saying that nothing of the sort was contemplated in such a “hypothetical situation”. Let’s hope that this is the case. Otherwise it might look like some in Washington and London want to artificially reproduce the situation of August 2013, only this time with the new US Administration in place and without participation of the British Parliament, in order to have a pretext for a direct military intervention in Syria for the purpose of regime change. It is a dangerous obsession, which will keep everybody on edge and will be utterly disruptive for the fragile political process in Syria.