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Parliamentary committee: Czechs never made Novichok

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Prague, May 10 (CTK) – No type of the Novichok agent, used for the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in Britain, was ever produced or stored in the Czech Republic, the Chamber of Deputies foreign affairs committee said in its resolution on Thursday.

The committee dealt with the reports of secret services on the occurrence of Novichok in the Czech Republic, Defence Minister Karla Slechtova (ANO) told journalists after its meeting.

The committee chairman, Lubomir Zaoralek (Social Democrats, CSSD), said the deputies from all the parties had accepted the explanations and facts delivered to them by experts. “There is the basic information for the public that the Czech Republic does not produce such substances,” he added.

Earlier this month, President Milos Zeman said Novichok had been produced in the Czech Republic.

Zaoralek said the statements by the representatives of the executive power, the government and the president, should be in harmony.

“The executive should be speaking in a uniform fashion and no one should mislead the public,” he added.

Zeman, now on a visit to Poland, said his argument had been based on the February statement by Bohuslav Safar, the director of the Military Research Institute.

“With all due respect for the education of some members of parliament, I am not sure whether they have better information on the question than the director of the institute, who himself said it had produced the Novichok,” he added.

“I can disclose the public information that the meeting resulted in a resolution in which the committee says that the Novichok agent was never produced or stored in Czech Republic,” Slechtova said.

Along with Slechtova, the meeting was attended by the head of the Security Information Service (BIS), Michal Koudelka, and the chairwoman of the State Office for Nuclear Safety (SUJB), Dana Drabova.

Zeman said according to the report delivered to him by the military intelligence, Novichok had been produced and tested in a small quantity in the Czech Republic.

Britain says Skripal was to be murdered by Russia, which retorted the poison could have originated from the Czech Republic.

Following Zeman’s statement, the Defence Ministry said last week within a defence programme launched in 2017, a Czech military institute used microscopic amount of the A230 substance for testing.

The A230 substance is different from the A234 substance, which was used in the poisoning of Skripal in Britain in March, government spokeswoman Barbora Peterova said.

The Defence Ministry dismissed the notion that the substance could have got out from the labs.

Slechtova repeated on Thursday that the preparation of the Novichok for laboratory tests could not be considered its production or storing.

“Any preparation by means of micro synthesis is no production,” she added.

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