It is unacceptable to grant the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) the right to attribute responsibility for chemical weapons attacks, permanent representatives of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) said a joint statement adopted on the sidelines of the 23rd Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention on Monday.
According to TASS, "We consider the United Nations Security Council to be the only body eligible to attribute responsibility for chemical weapons offences," the statement reads. "We would like to emphasize that it is unacceptable to turn the OPCW - a purely technical organization - into an agency whose mandate overlaps with that of the UN Security Council," the CSTO envoys added.
The statement also said that abandoning the principle of consensus decisions would jeopardize the OPCW’s unity. The CSTO envoys pointed to the need to pool the efforts of all states parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention in order to "bring the organization back to the depoliticized track."
Discussions about providing the OPCW with the right to attribute responsibility for the use of chemical weapons began after the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism, created to look into chemical weapons incidents in Syria, had ceased operations. A special session of the Conference of the States Parties in late June decided to give the OPCW Technical Secretariat the right to attribute responsibility for the use of poisonous substances.
In order to setup a relevant mechanism, the Technical Secretariat put forward an initiative to raise the organization’s 2019 budget by more than two mln euros. Russia has on numerous occasions opposed attempts to turn the OPCW into a punishing organization. According to Moscow, in case the OPCW is granted the right to attribute responsibility for the use of chemical weapons, the question of the organization’s infringement upon the exclusive prerogatives of the United Nations Security Council will arise.