Paris condemns use of nerve agent to poison Alexei Navalny

Communiqué issued by Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs

Paris, 2 September 2020

I was dismayed to learn of the information published by the German authorities confirming the use in Russia of a nerve agent belonging to the “Novichok” family to poison Alexei Navalny.

I wish to condemn in the strongest possible terms the shocking and irresponsible use of such an agent.

Once again, the principle of the prohibition of the use of any chemical weapon has been violated. I wish to reaffirm that the use of chemical weapons, anywhere, at any time, by anyone, under any circumstances is unacceptable and contravenes international standards banning the use of these weapons, as reaffirmed by the Declaration of Principles endorsed by the International Partnership against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons launched on France’s initiative on 23 January 2018.

In this context, it is essential and urgent for the Russian authorities to be able to establish without delay the circumstances in which the use of a nerve agent against Mr Navalny was possible. Given Mr Navalny’s political status in Russia, the attack against him raises significant questions. It is the responsibility of the Russian authorities to respond to these questions.

France is in close contact with the German authorities, as well as its partners, in order to coordinate on the response to this event in the relevant forums, notably within the framework of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

We reaffirm our wholehearted solidarity with the victim and his family and wish him a speedy recovery./.

Published on 07/09/2020

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