Watchdog gets authority to assign blame in chemical attacks

30 June, 2018, 16:45 | Author: Myra Gill
  • The Foreign Affairs Minister made the announcement today

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the vote would empower the OPCW "not just to identify the use of chemical weapons but also the to point the finger at the organization, the state that they think is responsible".

After two days of tense talks and in face of stiff opposition from Moscow and Damascus, a British-led proposal to strengthen the mandate of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) passed by 82 votes in favour with 24 against, in The Hague on Wednesday.

Late past year, Russian Federation wielded its veto power at the UN Security Council to effectively kill off a joint UN-OPCW panel aimed at identifying those behind suspected chemical attacks in Syria.

"The Conference of States Parties recognized the results of the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism's last report, which attributed the use of the sarin nerve agent in Khan Shaykhun to Syrian government forces", Freeland said.

US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan agreed, saying "state and non-state actors are challenging the worldwide norm against chemical weapons use". "If accountability is avoided, the potential re-emergence and acceptance of chemicals as weapons of war and terror will not be deterred".

It can now support countries in meeting their obligations to uphold the chemical weapons convention. As many as 82 OPCW member states of OPCW voted in favour of United Kingdom proposal. "This will mean a fall-apart of a yet another highly needed and important agency, which performs expert and technical functions in the field as crucial as the banning of chemical weapons". Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok warned Wednesday ahead of the vote that the repeated use of chemical weapons was a "black cloud" hanging over the OPCW which has destroyed 96 percent of the world's toxic arms stockpiles.

Rajamony had said while there is unity on the goal, there are strong differences on how to achieve this goal. Any long-lasting and effective solution to the challenges faced by the OPCW can only be found through wide ranging consultations among States Parties, he said.

He urged thatall provisions of the Convention be utilised to address these concerns.

"Today's decision signals to victims of chemical weapons attacks in Syria and elsewhere that the global community has not abandoned them, and to perpetrators that they will be brought to justice".


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