OPCW members to support adding Novichok to chemical weapons list — Dutch top diplomat

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THE HAGUE, April 11. /TASS/. The majority of members of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) are likely to support adding the chemical agent known as Novichok into an annex to the Chemical Weapons Convention, Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok has said.

“Russia has delayed the Canadian, Dutch and US proposal to list Novichok as a forbidden chemical, following the attack in Salisbury. However, we are confident that the majority of OPCW will vote in favor of the listing in November,” the minister said in a Twitter post.

The statement came as a response to UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who said on Wednesday that the Russian delegation had objected to Novichok being added to OPCW control lists. Russia’s permanent mission to the OPCW has refrained from comments so far.

An OPCW Executive Council held a meeting in the Hague in late February. The conference was initiated by Russia and dedicated to plans to change the CWC list. In particular, Moscow called for including five families of chemicals in the list. However, the initiative was rejected.

Canada, the Netherlands and the United States put forward an initiative to add two families of the so-called “Novichok” chemicals to the list at the OPCW Executive Council’s previous meeting held on January 14. Russia came up with serious objections and refused to be associated with the Council’s decision on the matter.

According to London’s version, on March 4 former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, convicted in Russia of spying for Britain, and his daughter Yulia, were exposed to a ‘Novichok-class’ nerve agent in Salisbury. The British government claimed that Russia was “highly likely” behind the incident. However, Moscow strongly dismissed all speculations on that score, adding that programs for developing this substance had never existed in the Soviet Union or Russia. Britain’s military chemical laboratory at Porton Down failed to pinpoint the origin of the substance that poisoned the Skripals.

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