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UK Proposes OPCW Begins Attributing Responsibility for Chemical Attacks in Syria

© Sputnik / Nour MolhemLaboratories and the plant for production of chemical weapon in Douma
Laboratories and the plant for production of chemical weapon in Douma - Sputnik International
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The United Kingdom proposed to expand the mandate of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in Syria to allow it identify those responsible for the use of chemical weapons in the country, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on Wednesday.

"UK has tabled draft decision aimed at strengthening the ban on chemical weapons. We propose the OPCW begins attributing responsibility for chemical weapons attacks in Syria. We also want action to support states to address the chemical terrorism threat. With proven technical expertise on chemical weapons the OPCW is the right body to study who is behind an attack," Johnson wrote on Twitter.

The statement followed the release of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission's (FFM) report on chemical weapons use in Syria, which confirmed that sarin was very likely used as a chemical weapon in the south of Ltamenah, Syrian Arab Republic, on 24 March 2017. However, the document noted drawing final conclusions on the issue would require a longer period of time, due to "the collection of information and material, interviewing witnesses, as well as analysis of samples."

READ MORE: OPCW Claims Sarin, Chlorine "Very Likely" Used in Syria in March 2017

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert speaks during a briefing at the State Department in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017 - Sputnik International
US to Limit Input in UN Conference on Disarmament Due to Syria’s Presidency
The existing OPCW Fact Finding Mission (FFM) is only responsible for the establishment of facts around the reports about the use of chemical weapons in Syria. The UN-OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) was mandated with attribution of responsibility for chemical attacks in Syria. However, this mission's mandate expired in November.

The claimed use of chemical weapons in Syria has become one of the main topics of the international agenda within the last several years after numerous accusations by the Syrian opposition, as well as Western countries, against Syrian government forces. 

The Syrian authorities have repeatedly said that their chemical weapons stockpiles had been destroyed under the supervision of the OPCW.

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