Press release

UK calls for special conference of chemical weapons watchdog

The UK has today formally called for a special Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention.


In response to shocking recent chemical attacks, 10 states have now joined the UK’s request, sharing a desire to see the use of Chemical Weapons banished to the past.

The Conference will look at ways in which the international community can work together to strengthen and protect this cornerstone of the international rules-based system of non-proliferation.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said:

The world came together in 1997 to outlaw the development, stockpiling and use of these vile substances through the Chemical Weapons Convention. But in recent years we have seen chemical attacks by the Asad regime in Syria, by Daesh in Syria and Iraq, in Malaysia and even here in the UK in Salisbury.

Today we have brought together 11 states to formally ask the Director General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to convene a special Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention.

We call on all right-thinking states to come together next month to take action to reaffirm and defend the ban on chemical weapons, and to strengthen the Organisation which we have entrusted with overseeing it.


  • under the Chemical Weapons Convention, 192 States Parties came together to ban the use of Chemical Weapons

  • the special Conference must be held within 30 days of today’s letter. With 11 states already co-sponsoring the call, the UK is confident that the OPCW will soon receive the 64 supportive responses needed for the conference to go ahead

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Published 29 May 2018