By Havva Kara Aydin
ANKARA (AA) – The European Union on Wednesday welcomed the global chemical watchdog’s decision to suspend rights and privileges of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad regime, urging it to reveal its chemical weapons program.
“The European Union welcomes the Decision adopted today by the 25th Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) suspending the voting rights and privileges of the Syrian Arab Republic due to its failure to comply with the Convention,” said the EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell in a statement.
Calling the decision a strong message by the international community against impunity for the use of chemical weapons, he said that the convention is a key instrument of the global non-proliferation and disarmament architecture.
“The European Union has strongly condemned the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Arab Air Force in Ltamenah in March 2017 and Saraqib in February 2018, as concluded by the OPCW Investigation and Identification Team report,” he added.
He urged the Syrian regime to reveal the full extent of its chemical weapons program and return to full compliance with the convention.
He stressed the EU and its members will continue to work at the national and international levels addressing chemical weapons attacks and other atrocity crimes committed by the Syrian regime.
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) determined that the regime used chemical weapons in al-Lataminah in March 2017 and in Saraqib in February 2018.
Member states of the global chemical watchdog on Wednesday voted to suspend rights and privileges of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad regime, including the right to vote at the organization.
The decision stands out as the heaviest sanction the OPCW has ever imposed on a member state.
The OPCW, the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) based in The Hague, the Netherlands, with its 193-member states, oversees the global endeavor to permanently eliminate chemical weapons.
The Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons was previously confirmed by UN investigators as well as the OPCW.
The regime’s use of chlorine as a chemical weapon is a violation of its obligations under the CWC, to which it is a party, as well as UN Security Council Resolution 2118.