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Friday, May 7th, 2021

Senate Foreign Relations Committee leaders call for Syrian chemical weapons accountability

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Senate Foreign Relations Committee leaders have expressed support for enforcing the international norm against chemical weapons, particularly the Assad regime’s illegal use of chemical weapons in Syria.

Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jim Risch (R-ID), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) recently forwarded correspondence to Secretary of State Antony Blinken in advance of the Organization of the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Conference on States Parties.

The Conference of the States Parties (CSP) oversees the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention while promoting Convention’s objectives and reviewing treaty compliance, per authorities.

“Since joining the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in 2013, the Assad regime has failed to fulfill its basic legal obligations under the CWC,” the senators wrote. “Since joining the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in 2013, the Assad regime has failed to fulfill its basic legal obligations under the CWC. Moreover, according to findings documented and established by OPCW and United Nations (UN) investigations, the Assad regime has continued to use chemical weapons against innocent civilians in Syria, even after purportedly dismantling its chemical weapons stocks in 2014.”

Due to the Assad regime’s violations of its obligations under the CWC and crimes against the Syrian people, the United States should move to suspend Syria’s rights and privileges at the OPCW.

“These rights should not be restored until Syria fully complies with its CWC obligations and accounts for its attacks on the Syrian people,” the lawmakers concluded. “The United States should use all diplomatic tools available to garner support among OPCW voting partners and countries for Syria’s suspension.”