"This is the first time in its history that the Chemical Weapons Convention’s Annex on Chemicals has been updated. This is an important development that demonstrates the adaptability of the Convention to changing threats while enhancing the OPCW’s ability to remain vigilant, agile, and fit for purpose," OPCW Director-General Fernando Arias said, commenting on the decision.
The decision was made at the Twenty-Fourth Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWP).
According to Arias, the changes will come into force for all parties to CWP 180 days from the date of the notification sent by the OPCW director-general.
However, according to representatives of the Russian delegation to the conference, the outcome of the vote does not mean the inclusion of the chemicals on the list, but only starts the procedure for consideration of such possibility.
The ongoing session of the conference of the OPCW member states began in The Hague on Monday and will last through Friday.
On 4 March 2018, former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were found unconscious on a bench near a shopping centre in the UK's Salisbury. London has claimed they were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent called A234, referred to as Novichok in the press, and accused Moscow of staging the attack, which provoked a huge international scandal. London has also said that it suspects Russian nationals Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, who the government claims work for Russian intelligence, of carrying out the attack.
In June 2018, UK woman Dawn Sturgess and her boyfriend, Charlie Rowley, fell ill in their Amesbury home. Rowley has recovered, while Sturgess died after a week on life support. The two were believed to have touched an object contaminated with the same substance that was used against the Skripals.
Moscow has categorically dismissed the accusations, pointing to the absence of any evidence and London’s rejection of its requests to cooperate in investigation and grant access to the poisoned Russian citizens. Petrov and Boshirov denied their involvement in the attack in an interview with the RT broadcaster, saying that they had visited Salisbury for tourism purposes and actually worked in the fitness industry.