UK wins bid for OPCW to attribute blame for chemical weapons attacks


The UK has been successful with its bid for the international chemical weapons watchdog to be able to apportion blame for attacks.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) voted on Wednesday to support a British-led motion for the body to have the power to attribute responsibility for attacks using banned weapons in Syria.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson had been at the OPCW’s headquarters in The Hague to push for the proposal on Tuesday.

Welcoming the decision, Mr Johnson said in a statement: “Chemical weapons are an affront to human dignity and have no place in the 21st century.

“The international community has quite rightly come together today to strengthen the ban on chemical weapons and prevent impunity for their use.

“The UK has led the diplomatic efforts to secure this action.

“We look forward to working with all countries who are members of the Chemical Weapons Convention to implement the decisions taken today, and we will continue to push back on any efforts to undermine the ban on these vile weapons.”

Boris Johnson UK wins bid for OPCW to attribute blame for chemical weapons attacks UK wins bid for OPCW to attribute blame for chemical weapons attacks skynews boris johnson foreign secretary 4347139
Boris Johnson was in The Hague to lobby for the move this week

The UK’s permanent representative to the OPCW, Peter Wilson, revealed 82 states voted in favour of the UK-led motion while 24 opposed the move.

Mr Wilson, who is also the UK’s ambassador to the Netherlands, tweeted there was an “overwhelming majority to restore the taboo” against chemical weapons.

Russia was one of those countries to vote against.

After the result, the country’s industry minister Georgy Kalamonov compared the OPCW to a sinking ship.

“A lot of the countries that voted against the measure are starting to think about how the organisation will exist and function in the future,” he said.

Britain’s proposal came after recent chemical weapons attacks in Syria, widely blamed on the country’s ruler Bashar al-Assad.

The UK government has also held Moscow responsible for the attempted murder of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia using a nerve agent in Salisbury on 4 March.

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