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Finland Joins the Fight Against the Use of Chemical Weapons

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Foreign Minister Timo Soini has no doubts that a chemical weapon has been used in Syria. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

On Monday, Finland joined an international initiative aiming at holding accountable those responsible for the use of chemical weapons.

The use of chemical weapons is prohibited under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and in customary international law.

Over the past years, this absolute prohibition has been challenged in an unprecedented manner. Most recentlyin Syria.

The CWC, adopted by a total of 192 countries, has been repeatedly breached but those responsible have not been held to account.

Currently, the international community does not have any common mechanism in place to identify those involved in the use of chemical weapons, and the establishment of such a mechanism has not advanced in the United Nations Security Council.

At present, the international community does not have any common mechanism in place to identify those involved in the use of chemical weapons.

The initiative was signed while Foreign Minister Timo Soini was visiting Luxemburg for the EU Foreign Affairs Council as the representative of Finland on Monday.

The topics on the agenda were Russia, Iran, Syria, Western Balkans, and the future of external financing instruments. “A chemical weapon has been used, and it does have its consequences,” said Soini.

According to Soini, it’s doubtless who has used chemical weapons in Syria (the West says there is evidence that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces are behind the chemical attack against civilians), and that those who have conducted air strikes against Syria’s chemical arms facilities (US, Britain, France) have enough information.

According to Reuters, the EU ministers discussed steps to deepen the isolation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. “The European Union will continue to consider further restrictive measures against Syria as long as the repression continues,” all 28 foreign ministers said in a statement after their talks in Luxembourg, referring to economic sanctions.

British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson stressed that it’s very important to realize that the air strikes are “not an attempt to change the tide of the war in Syria or to have a regime change.”

The Syrian war, which has lasted six years, is considered complicated to explain. In a nutshell, Russian troops are there to fight against the Islamic State (IS) and rebels, and that’s what President Assad is doing as well.

Russia denies the claims of the West.

According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, “there is no proof that on April 7 chemical weapons were used in Douma.” And that the claimed attack was staged. Lavrov was speaking in an interview with the BBC.

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