The Chemical Weapons Convention is an arms control treaty which was signed in 1993 and ratified by 63 countries. The convention outlaws the production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons and their precursors. The treaty is administered by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and a total number of 192 states, including Russia, have become parties to the CWC and have accepted its obligations.
In the wake of the recent poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter by a nerve agent in Salisbury, the Convention’s procedures allow Britain a period of ten days to formally request clarification on Russia’s role via the OPCW. If the response proves unsatisfactory, Britain would be entitled to file a complaint with the organization’s executive council and the conference of member-states.
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May has already received strong support from the OPCW. According to CBS, Britain’s representative to the watchdog told fellow delegates he never expected “to have to brief this Council on the first offensive use of a nerve agent of any sort on European territory since World War Two.”
“The stark conclusion is that it is highly likely that Russia, a fellow State Party to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), is implicated in chemical weapons use, whether by failure to control its own materials or by design,” said British delegate Peter Wilson.
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