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OPCW Gets Power To Assign Blame In Chemical Attacks, Despite Russia's Objections

June 27, 2018

Countries have overwhelming voted to give the world's chemical weapons watchdog new powers to assign blame for attacks using banned toxic materials, in a motion backed by the West and opposed by Moscow.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), meeting on June 27 in The Hague, voted 82-24 in favor of the proposal to grant the new powers, surpassing the two-thirds requirement needed for passage.

The British-led motion was supported by the United States and European Union, but opposed by Russia, Iran, Syria, and their allies.

Russian officials said the change will undermine the organization and threaten its future and that UN Security Council was the only place to discuss such matters.

Britain made the proposal following the chemical attacks on a Russian former spy and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury. Britain has accused Russia of using a nerve agent in the assassination attempt, an accusation Moscow denies.

OPCW experts have cited the repeated use of chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict, in Iraq, and elsewhere.

The West has blamed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces for a number chemical attacks during the civil war. Damascus and its ally Moscow denied any involvement.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/opcw-gets-power- to-assign-blame-in-chemical-attacks-despite- russia-s-objections/29324058.html

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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