THE HAGUE, November 18. /TASS/. Moscow expects a heated debate on the budget and attributive mechanism at the 23rd Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention in The Hague on November 19-20, Russia’s envoy to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and Ambassador to the Netherlands Alexander Shulgin said in an interview with TASS.
"This will be a rather heated debate," the diplomat said. The participants will focus on the issues of implementing the June decision of the special session of the Chemical Weapons Convention on vesting the Technical Secretariat with attributive powers, beyond the earlier agreed zero nominal growth, when defining those guilty in using chemical weapons."
"This issue is directly related to approving a draft program and the OPCW budget for 2019, which stipulates significantly increasing the budget to create the so-called attributive mechanism," Shulgin said. "Some countries, including Russia, oppose the attributive mechanism in the OPCW as a whole because this runs counter to the chemical convention’s provisions, and many delegations disagree with raising the contributions." Others do not back increasing the budget for the attributive mechanism, as there are more issues of vital importance in the organization, the diplomat said. "Russia expects the support of all these countries."
If the decision is made, this will trigger a change of the OPCW’s model. "The organization will be split, it won’t play the role of a universal mechanism in the sphere of disarmament and non-proliferation anymore," he noted.
Russia criticized the announcement by the Technical Secretariat on setting up the structure of the attributive mechanism before this was backed by the organization’s decision-making bodies. "No decisions have been made on this so far. We will certainly say this at the conference."
The decision to vest the OPCW Secretariat with attributive authority, or the right to identify those responsible for the use of chemical weapons, was taken at a special session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in late June.
The Russian side has repeatedly opposed turning the OPCW into a "punitive body." According to Moscow, once the OPCW is authorized to identify those to blame for the use of chemical weapons it will mean infringement upon the exclusive domain of the United Nations Security Council and it is not envisaged by the Chemical Weapons Convention.