United Kingdom Requests Extension of OPCW Technical Assistance for Amesbury, UK Incident

7 August 2018

THE HAGUE, Netherlands—7 August 2018 — The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) received a request on 7 August from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) for the OPCW to extend its technical assistance in the technical evaluation of unscheduled chemicals.

In response to the request, the OPCW will deploy a technical assistance team for a follow-up visit and to collect additional samples. Samples will be sent to two OPCW designated laboratories. Once the results of the analysis are received, the report will be submitted to the United Kingdom.

The UK’s request for assistance was made in accordance with Article VIII 38 (e) of the Chemical Weapons Convention.   

Background

The OPCW team works independently and is not involved in the national investigation by the UK authorities. No State Party is involved in the technical work carried out by the Technical Secretariat.

OPCW designated laboratories are a linchpin of the Organisation’s verification regime and its capacity to investigate allegations of the use of chemical weapons. They must be able to perform off-site analysis of chemical samples collected by OPCW inspectors from chemical production facilities, storage depots and other installations, or from the site of an alleged use of chemical weapons. These laboratories offer the necessary assurance to our States Parties that chemical analyses needed to make determinations or to clarify issues occurring during OPCW deployments are carried out competently, impartially, and with unambiguous results.

As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW, with its 193 Member States, oversees the global endeavour to permanently eliminate chemical weapons. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1997, it is the most successful disarmament treaty eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction. 

Over 96% of all chemical weapon stockpiles declared by possessor States have been destroyed under OPCW verification. For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.

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