18:49 GMT +324 May 2019
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    Syrian medical staff take part in a training exercise to learn how to treat victims of chemical weapons attacks, in a course organized by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Gaziantep, Turkey, July 20, 2017

    OPCW Votes Against Russian Proposal to Limit Power of Chemical Weapons Watchdog

    © REUTERS / Murad Sezer
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    Russia's envoy to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Alexander Shulgin stated earlier in October that the organisation was doomed unless it reconsidered a decision that allowed it to attribute responsibility for chemical attacks.

    The motion, proposed by Russia and China was voted down by the OPCW members, with 30 countries voting for and 82 — against it. Moscow and Beijing proposed establishing a special group that should probe the scope of OPCW mandate.

    “Thirty delegations voted for the Russian-Chinese draft decision, 82 against, 31 more abstained, and 10 left the site of the vote. Thus, 71 delegations did not support the western camp. This means that the split in the OPCW is only deepening,”  Russian Deputy Trade Minister Georgy Kalamanov noted.

    READ MORE: OPCW Experts Poorly Handle Evidence Collected in Syria — Russian Envoy to OPCW

    He also stated that Russia was unlikely to join the new attribution mechanism of the organisation.

    “The amount by which the planned budget of the OPCW is to be increased was to be spent on attribution, the creation of the mechanism and recruitment of new employees for solving tasks that are not typical of the organization,” Kalamanov said.

    Commenting on the issue, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov criticised the attempts to give the organisation the power to place blame.

    “Opportunistic attempts to vest the Technical Secretariat of the OPCW… with the functions of a prosecutor are a gross violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, decisions of the UN Security Council and contrary to the position of the majority of states parties to the convention," he said at a meeting of the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC).

    Previously, following the poisoning of former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, London demanded to establish an investigative commission eligible to assign blame for chemical weapons use. On June 27, the mandate of the OPCW was expanded in line with the UK motion, however, Moscow said it would not recognise it as legitimate since only the UN Security Council is eligible to make such judgments.


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