China calls for prudent approach to issue of chemical weapons in Syria
A damaged mosque in the old area of the city of Mosul, Syria, February 17, 2021. /Getty

A damaged mosque in the old area of the city of Mosul, Syria, February 17, 2021. /Getty

A Chinese envoy on Thursday called for a prudent approach to the issue of chemical weapons use in Syria. 
China hopes that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) can observe the principles of independence, impartiality and objectivity, and act strictly within the framework of the Chemical Weapons Convention when investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons and attributing responsibility, said Geng Shuang, China's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations. 
China is always opposed to the use of chemical weapons by any state, organization or individual under any circumstances for any purposes, he said. 
Efforts to resolve the issue of Syrian chemical weapons must proceed from facts. Investigations on alleged use of chemical weapons should be science-based and comply with relevant rules and standards, he told the Security Council. 

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Reliability of the information source, integrity of the evidence chain, and robustness of the analysis all affect the credibility and authority of investigation reports. States parties have the right to question the investigation reports. The OPCW Technical Secretariat should present conclusive evidence so as to convince people, Geng said. 
To resolve the Syrian chemical weapons issue, there should be no double standards, the diplomat said. The OPCW technical secretariat, he continued, should not selectively adopt intelligence and information on the alleged use of chemical weapons by parties. The Syrian government has on various occasions provided information on the fabrication of incidents of chemical weapons by terror organizations and armed groups. The technical secretariat should attach importance to such information and include it in its monthly report, Geng said. 
To resolve the Syrian chemical weapons issue, there should be no political motivation at play, he said. 
In the past few years, some countries have repeatedly pushed the OPCW to take action despite the lack of conclusive evidence, numerous doubts about the reports and huge differences among parties. 
"Decisions forced through in this way were often full of controversy and hard to implement. They not only eroded mutual trust among states parties, but also hampered the resolution of this issue," Geng said.
"To resolve the Syrian chemical weapons issue, we must rely on dialogue and cooperation."  
For some time the Syrian government has actively collaborated with the OPCW. The two sides have maintained sound communication and cooperation, and in principle, agreed to extend the relevant cooperation agreement by six months, he noted. 

From February 7 to 25, the two sides held the 24th round of technical consultation. The international community should acknowledge the constructive attitude of the Syrian government, encourage the OPCW and the Syrian government to continue dialogue and consultation and to work together to resolve outstanding issues, he said.

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency

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