BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:45 P.M.) – The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) began a two-day hearing which will determine whether to hand greater powers to chemical weapons inspectors in Syria, at a session from the Hague on Tuesday.
Chairperson Abdelouahab Bellouki opened the meeting, welcoming delegates and officials, and stated that the main goal of the convention was to “establish strong foundations for global peace and security”, and that those responsible for chemical weapons attacks “need to be punished.”
British foreign secretary Boris Johnson is expected to clash with Russia, if he requests a vote over a proposal submitted earlier this month. Johnson is asking that weapon inspectors be given authority to identify those using chemical weapons in Syria.
Russia strongly opposes the proposal, saying it will politicise the institution and damage the reputation of the scientific body.
The Syrian opposition and Western countries accuse government forces of repeated chemical weapons use. The Syrian authorities insist that their chemical weapons supplies were destroyed under OPCW supervision.