Lavrov: Russia proposes that the Convention for the suppression of acts of chemical terrorism

Lavrov: Russia proposes that the Convention for the suppression of acts of chemical terrorism


GENEVA, 1 March. Russia proposes that the Convention for the suppression of acts of chemical terrorism.

This was stated by Minister of foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov, speaking at the Conference on disarmament.

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“Convention for the prohibition of chemical weapons (CWC) not fully solve the challenge of countering chemical terrorism, said the Minister. – Do not see sufficient grounds for assertions about the adequacy of existing rules of customary international law. These rules do not solve the problem of the prohibition of the use of chemical weapons by non-state actors and, especially, qualifying such actions as international crimes”. “To address these gaps through the development of amendments to the CWC is quite problematic, since it for making amendments too difficult, time-consuming and cumbersome procedure,” he added.

“A more realistic, reliable and promising tool to solve this problem is to develop a separate Convention for the suppression of acts of chemical terrorism, – noticed Lavrov. – It is clear that there are a number of international platforms on which these could be addressed. But we propose to do it here in the Conference on disarmament, which has already made an invaluable contribution to the reduction of chemical threats through the successful negotiation of the CWC”.

“Thus was solved the double challenge of countering chemical terrorism on one side and enabling the work of the Geneva disarmament forum on the other”, – said the head of the Russian foreign Ministry.

Lavrov stressed that in the case of the start of practical work on such a Convention will need to establish close cooperation with the Organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons. “We also have to ensure that all States parties to the CWC who are not participants of the Conference on disarmament, had the opportunity to contribute to the development of a new agreement, he said. It is possible to ensure, in particular, by providing to all interested observers at the conference, as permitted by the rules of procedure”.

Russia is concerned at the lack of progress in negotiations

“The assets of the conference are a number of key international agreements, which are largely based global security – Lavrov recalled. Among recent major achievements is the Agreement on a comprehensive test ban and the Convention on the prohibition of chemical weapons. Both of these agreements date from the last decade of the last century”.

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According to him, to resume the negotiation process, unfortunately, has since failed due to serious differences on the programme of work of the conference. “Fully share the disappointment and concern of the partners in connection with such a long stagnation, as was the belief in the need for a speedy remedy the situation, the Minister said. – However, the impasse seems to us not in transfer negotiations to other sites or especially in the rejection of consensus, and in the diligent and creative search of balance of interests”.

“For the past two decades, various options were discussed to overcome the impasse, but none of them worked, – noted the Minister. The lack of positive results due, in our opinion, as objective differences in state priorities and the difficulties of finding a compromise in a pretty tough part of the traditional agenda of the conference”.

“All we seem to have tried all imaginable combinations of its constituent elements, but the agreement has not yet been achieved,” – stated Lavrov.

The danger of the use of chemical weapons increases

The Minister noted that the threat of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of non-state actors is recognized. “To counter that much has been done, – said Lavrov. – An important step in this direction was the adoption in 2004 of resolution 1540 of the UN Security Council. A year later, on Russia’s initiative, was concluded the international Convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism. However, in this area there are still serious gaps related in particular to the use of chemicals for terrorist purposes”.

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This problem “now becomes superactual character in the light of emerging facts repeated application of militants “Islamic state” (ISIS, a terrorist organization banned in Russia) and other terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq not only toxic industrial chemicals, but also full of chemical warfare agents”. “There is an increasing risk of similar crimes on the territory of Libya, of Yemen,” stated the Minister.

“Such activities of non-state actors in the middle East and North Africa is becoming more and more large-scale, systemic, cross-border character and threaten to escalate far beyond the region, – noted the Minister. – There is information about terrorist groups obtaining access to scientific and technical documentation for production of chemical weapons, the capture of the chemical enterprises with the appropriate equipment, bringing to the development of the synthesis of chemical warfare agents of foreign experts”.

According to him, the extreme urgency of the situation testify to the incidents in August / September 2015 in the Syrian city of Marea, where the militants used artillery shells filled with mustard gas. “This leaves no room for doubt that chemical terrorism is no longer an abstract threat, but a harsh reality of our days, which can and should be countered by stepping up serious work on international platforms”, – said Lavrov.

The Russian Federation proposes to establish working bodies for each of the four themes of the Conference on disarmament

The Minister has proposed to create four discussion group on nuclear disarmament, prevention of an arms race in outer space, negative security assurances and a Treaty banning the production of fissile material.

“We believe that negotiations on the new Convention (on the suppression of acts of chemical terrorism) should be combined with substantive work on the four core agenda items of the Conference on disarmament – nuclear disarmament, prevention of an arms race in outer space, negative security assurances and a Treaty banning the production of fissile material,” he said, speaking at the Conference on disarmament.

As the Minister said, “on each of these issues could be set up working bodies to discussion of the mandates”. “The relevant Russian proposals will be transferred to the Norwegian chairmanship”, – said Lavrov.