Western attempts to manipulate the Chemical Weapons Convention have drawn Russiaís firm response, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov saying the West tries to promote its own policies and turn the convention into its "obedient tool."
"They are trying to turn a unique tool of international law, the Chemical Weapons Convention, into an obedient tool to promote Western policies," Lavrov said at a news conference during a visit to the Belarus capital, Minsk, on Wednesday.
The 1997 treaty outlaws the production, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons and their precursors. The accord led to the creation of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
Lavrov’s remarks came a day after a Russian-led bid aimed at blocking new powers of the OPCW was rejected.
In June, the Hague-based organization passed by 82 votes to 24 a British-backed proposal which enable the watchdog to hold responsible those who it thinks are behind alleged chemical attacks. Until then, the OPCW’s mandate was limited only to determining whether or not a chemical attack took place, not who was responsible.
Russia’s top diplomat also censured Tuesdayís vote, which passed the 2019 budget for the watchdog that will partly fund the new powers.
"Itís a worrisome situation," Lavrov said, adding that "a decision to give the technical secretariat the powers to identify and appoint the guilty was made through a vote by breaking the existing procedures."
He also said that the vote was marred by "blackmail and bribery," accusing the OPCW member states that backed the move of encroaching on the "fundamentals of international law."
Also on Tuesday, the OPCW voted against Russiaís joint plan with China to establish an "open ended" group to scrutinize how the new powers would work.