Lie Upon Lie - Lavrov Chronicles Timeline of Western Duplicity to Strike Against Syria
Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister: «I'll speak about how our Western partners explain their absolutely illegitimate and unacceptable actions. As you probably heard, the American President, the British Prime Minister, and the French President have lately claimed to have „irrefutable evidence“, proving that, firstly, a chemical attack had taken place in Douma, Eastern Ghouta, and, secondly, that it was Assad who had ordered to conduct it.
Therefore, I would like to remind you that we heard the exact same words about a year ago, when the White Helmets claimed that there was no doubt that a Sarin gas attack had taken place in Khan Shaykhun, the province of Idlib. Our Western partners jumped on that and began to peddle very questionable videos as irrefutable facts, just like in the case of Douma. We insisted that OPCW experts go to the incident scene. We were told that it was impossible for security reasons.
Then it miraculously turned out that France and the UK had declared to the OPCW that they had managed to get samples from Khan Shaykhun, which they examined in French and British laboratories, and there was no doubt that it was Sarin gas that had been applied there. Naturally, as a serious and reflective people, we asked the French and the British about how those samples had been obtained, as since London and Paris had got the latter, then there had been some people who could work in the security conditions of Khan Shaykhun at the time. We wondered, why not get those people to ensure the safety of the OPCW experts, so that they could come to the site to take samples in compliance with the procedures set forth in the Chemical Weapons Convention and to examine the samples within the OPCW.
Our partners skirted the question, saying that it wasn't necessary as the facts were irrefutable in any case. Then we asked if they could share those facts with us so that we could at least make sure that everything was clear there. We were told that they were secret. Well, you know the rest.
And it's the same with Douma. They possess „irrefutable facts“. That's what they're telling us, justifying the airstrikes they've made. No evidence is given except the information diffused by the media and the video which is considered quite ridiculous by experts.
But President Macron, who publicly announced they had possessed „irrefutable facts“ proving a chemical attack in Douma conducted by what they call the Assad regime, held a telephone conversation with President Putin the day before yesterday, if memory serves me right. During the conversation, our president referred to the French president's public statement about those facts, asking to share them. Because in such a case, we would be the first to want to stop such illegal actions, the use of chemical weapons. The answer was the same, they were secret. He said that they couldn’t provide the data as it was a secret, and not France's secret.
Well, those who do not want to share the source used that secret to instigate the airstrikes. Besides, everybody understands that they were made the day before the OPCW inspectors, who had already arrived in Beirut, were to head to the incident scene to check if chemical weapons had been applied there. By the way, they still confirm their readiness to visit Douma to complete their mission. We will return to this later. I hope that they will be allowed to do it this time.
There's another common feature of last year's episode and this current one. When on April 4th, 2017, the White Helmets made their news viral Rex Tillerson called me and said that they knew that the chemical weapon had been delivered by an aerial bomb borne by a plane that had taken off from the Shayrat Airbase and asked us to convince the Syrian Government to consent to inspectors, including Americans, to visit the airfield to check if it was true. We got Syria's consent. But while we were getting ready to convey it to Washington, the airstrikes had already been made.
This time, three days ago a representative of the US Embassy visited our Ministry to, among other things, promote the US position, its confidence in those facts. We answered that our military specialists in the field of chemical and radiation shielding very carefully examined the site shown in the video, the hospital, and other facilities and found nothing. Then he asked if American specialists could go there. We said that it was a good idea and that we'd negotiate it with Damascus.
A day later, in the same conversation between President Putin and President Macron, responding to his French counterpart's statement that the Syrian Government was certainly behind the attack, President Putin offered him to get French inspectors to study the situation on the site along with Russian and American experts. They agreed to have the ministries of defense implement that idea. None of our French colleagues contacted either the Ministry of Defense or our Ministry. Again, as you know, airstrikes followed shortly afterward.
Therefore, we are very much in favor of establishing facts. Too often we are told that there are irrefutable facts.
Former US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson publicly claimed that they had „irrefutable evidence“ of Russia's interference in the US elections, but when I asked him to share those facts, he said he wouldn't, as it was pointless since our intelligence agencies knew perfectly well how they interfered in the elections.
In this and other cases we want to focus on facts, including in the so-called Skripal case. As you know, in this case, our British partners refuse to answer dozens of questions that we have asked them, clarifying the list. They say that we also never responded to any of the questions posed to us by the British.
Let me remind you that London has asked us only one thing. It wants Russia to reveal the way Novichok was shipped to London, either by order of President Putin or because Russia has lost control over its chemical stocks. That's what they ask. Our questions were specific, based on the Chemical Weapons Convention.
I have now received a memo saying that the Pentagon justified the US strikes against Syria prior to the OPCW's conclusion because of Damascus' refusal to let experts visit Eastern Ghouta. This is not true. We followed every minute of the situation. The Syrian government was ready to issue visas immediately, at the border, skipping all the formalities. Having left Beirut, experts would have received visas at the border with Syria. This was officially confirmed, and the OPCW knows it. Since the OPCW knows it, the US is bound to know it too.
Let's return to the Skripal case. The special OPCW mission was invited by the British. It was exclusively on a bilateral basis. They said they'd inform later all the rest on the conclusions of the mission. First, the executive summary of the OPCW report was made public, followed by quite a detailed classified version only for the OPCW members. In compliance with the OPCW procedures, the report confirmed the chemical formula of the substance provided by the British and of the samples taken by the OPCW experts. The report doesn't mention any names, like Novichok, but it does give a long chemical formula which, according to our experts, indicates a substance which has been developed in many countries and isn't classified.
Describing previous situations, I have already given some examples of our colleagues claiming to have secret data which they can't share. As you understand, we also can receive confidential information. Since this information concerns literally the matter of life and death we won't keep such data a secret.
It has come to our attention that, according to the data from the Swiss center for radiology and bacteriological analysis in Spiez, that has been received confidentially, the experts of the center on March 27th concluded the research of the samples received from the OPCW, which were selected by the OPCW at the site of the poisoning in Salisbury. That laboratory in Spiez, which has, I am convinced, professional scientists who value their reputation, has come to the following results. I will now quote word for word their conclusions that they sent to the OPCW. This is the translation into Russian.
I quote. „According to the results of the conducted tests, traces of the toxic chemical known as BZ along with its precursors were found in the samples which belong to the second category of chemical weapons as specified in the Chemical Weapons Convention. BZ is an incapacitating agent that temporarily renders individuals incapable of concerted effort. The psychoactive effect is achieved 30-60 minutes after application and lasts for up to 96 hours. This chemical was in the arsenal of the armed forces of the USA, Britain, and other NATO countries. In the Soviet Union and Russia, there was never any development or storage of this chemical.
Moreover, traces of the A-234 nerve agent were also found in the samples. It was at its base state and in significantly high concentrations. We also found the byproducts of its degradation“. End quote.
The experts conclude that the significantly high concentrations of A-234 that were found would have undoubtedly led to a fatal outcome. And taking into account its high volatility, the fact that the experts at Spiez Laboratory detected this chemical agent in its base state and, moreover, in its pure form and in such high concentrations, appears to be very suspicious because the period between the poisoning and sampling was quite long, more than two weeks, as I recall.
And taking into account the fact that Yulia Skripal and the policeman have been released from the hospital, and as far as Sergey Skripal goes, as the British tell us while denying us access to Yulia and Sergey, he is getting well.
Therefore, the clinical picture is corresponding more with BZ poisoning. None of these factors, or anything about BZ is mentioned in the final report that was submitted by experts from the OPCW and presented to its Executive Council.
Therefore, we ask the OPCW why the information which I have just read out loud and which reflected the conclusions of specialists from the Spiez laboratory, was missing in the final document. If the OPCW rejects and refutes the very fact of involving Spiez laboratory, it would be interesting to hear their explanations.
I'm done with my introduction on this subject. Once again, I prepared a completely different speech, I hope that we can discuss more timeless questions rather than such sad episodes taking place today or having taken place a year ago. I would like to thank the journalists for bringing the facts to the media space».