Punishing Assad regime shows ‘ethical commitment’, says arms watchdog

The Assad government and its ally Moscow condemn Wednesday's vote to remove Syria's voting rights.

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On Thursday, the head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) fortified the exclusion of Syria’s voting rights, saying it showed an “ethical commitment” to eradicating toxic arms.

The Assad regime and its ally Moscow thumped Wednesday’s vote by a majority of countries at the OPCW to punish Syria.

Russia and the Assad government said the pronouncement, made after an inquiry which found that the Assad regime carried out three sarin and chlorine attacks in 2017, alleged that the OPCW was becoming politicized by the West.

Nonetheless, OPCW chief Fernando Arias held this week’s conference of member states “reaffirmed that the use of chemical weapons is the most serious breach of the convention there can be, as people’s lives are taken or destroyed”.

“By deciding to address the possession and use of chemical weapons by a state party, the conference has reiterated the international community’s ethical commitment to upholding the norm against these weapons,” Arias said.

France announced the motion on behalf of 46 countries, comprising the UK and the US, to discipline the regime after it failed to answer questions about the weapons used in the 2017 bouts on the village of Lataminah.

Eighty-seven countries voted in favor of the motion, while 15, including the Assad government, Russia, China, and Iran, voted in contradiction. Meanwhile, 34 abstained from the vote.

Damascus’ rights will remain deferred until member states decide that the Assad regime has fully declared all of its chemical weapons and factories.

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