Switzerland Keeps Up Pressure Against Chemical Weapons

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The Alpine state is one of 193 members of the Conference of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) that meets this week for its fifth review process.

“Repeated use of chemical weapons, notably in Syria, and the current geopolitical situation pose major challenges for the conference,” the Swiss government stated on Monday. “Switzerland is committed to the scientific clarification of all uses of chemical weapons and seeks to strengthen the OPCW to send a strong message against such weapons.”

Switzerland cited the use of chemical weapons in Syria since 2012 and the poisoning of Russians Sergei Skripal (2018) and Alexei Navalny in 2020, which have “created a highly polarised climate within the OPCW”.

In January, Switzerland said it is critical to find out who was behind a chlorine gas attack that killed 43 civilians in the Syrian town of Douma in 2018.

The OPCW, which is tasked with implementing the chemical weapons convention, has prioritised the destruction of all chemical weapons by the end of this year.

To help achieve this, Switzerland has helped finance the OPCW Centre for Chemistry and Technology in the Netherlands. The Spiez Laboratory, in central Switzerland, is part of the OPCW laboratory network.

Switzerland furthermore supports countermeasures against “attempts by some states to undermine the OPCW’s credibility”.

These include the establishment of the OPCW’s Investigation and Identification Team, revoking Syria’s voting rights at the chemical weapons body and the recognition of ‘Novichok’ nerve agents as banned substances.

The fifth review conference of the CWC takes place at at the Hague, the Netherlands, between May 10 and 19.

Source : SwissInfo