January 25, 2022

News

News Network

OPCW Condemns Syria’s Repeated Use of Chemical Weapons

9 min read

Office of the Spokesperson

On April 21, 2021 in The Hague, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Conference of the State Parties adopted a historic decision in response to the Assad regime’s continued use and possession of chemical weapons in violation of its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and its failure to complete the measures set out in the OPCW Executive Council’s July 2020 decision.

This decision fulfills the recommendation made by the Executive Council in response to the April 2020 findings of the OPCW’s Investigation and Identification Team (IIT), which identified that the Syrian Arab Air Force was responsible for three chemical weapons attacks involving sarin and chlorine in March 2017 in the northern Syrian town of Ltamenah.  The IIT has since issued an additional report of Syria’s use of chemical weapons in a separate instance, which adds to a robust body of evidence by other international investigative bodies that the regime has repeatedly used these weapons on its own people. The United States commends the OPCW staff for its thorough, expert, and professional work in producing these reports.  The United States itself assesses that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons at least 50 times since acceding to the CWC in 2013.

The decision condemns Syria’s use of chemical weapons and suspends certain of its rights and privileges under the Convention until the OPCW Director-General reports to the Council that Syria has completed the measures requested in the Executive Council’s July 2020 decision.  In that decision, the Council requested that Syria declare any chemical weapons it continues to possess as well as its chemical weapons production facilities and other related facilities.  It also requested that Syria resolve all outstanding issues regarding the initial declaration of its chemical weapons stockpile and program.  This is the first time such action has been taken against a country at the OPCW. A copy of the decision will be provided to the United Nations Security Council and to the United Nations General Assembly.

Along with the international community, the United States urges the Assad regime to cooperate with the OPCW, to declare and destroy its remaining stockpile, to renounce its chemical weapons program, and to comply with its obligations under the CWC.

The United States welcomes the OPCW’s decision and applauds the international community’s continued commitment to upholding the international norm against the use of chemical weapons. The use of chemical weapons by any state presents an unacceptable security threat to all states.  As demonstrated today, the international community will continue to pursue accountability for the use of chemical weapons, for which there can be no impunity.

Text of the Decision and additional information is available here: https://www.opcw.org/media-centre/news/2021/04/conference-states-parties-adopts-decision-suspend-certain-rights-and

More from: Office of the Spokesperson

News Network

  • Arkansas RV Salesman Indicted for Income Tax Evasion
    In Crime News
    An indictment was unsealed today charging an Arkansas man with three counts of evading his individual income taxes.
    [Read More…]
  • COVID-19: Implementation and Oversight of Preparedness Strategies at Veterans Affairs Medical Centers
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found Beginning in January 2020, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) took actions to help the Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers (VAMC) prepare for COVID-19. VHA's Office of Emergency Management facilitated the development of VHA's COVID-19 Response Plan, which defined preparedness strategies for VAMCs to mitigate the effects of COVID-19. According to VHA, preparedness refers to the development of plans, resources, and capabilities to manage and recover from the effects of emergencies. Plans for the safety of staff and patients, identification of sufficient supplies and capacity, and coherent communication were among the identified strategies. VAMCs began implementing these strategies in February 2020. Officials from four selected VAMCs reported using similar approaches to implement VHA's preparedness strategies, such as developed plans for screening and testing; trained staff on personal protective equipment (PPE) use; identified the capability to expand beds in the event of a patient surge; conducted problem solving activities to identify gaps in response capabilities; counted PPE and calculated consumption rates; and communicated safety information to patients. VHA oversaw VAMCs' implementation of COVID-19 preparedness strategies by collecting data on the VAMCs' efforts and holding VHA-wide conference calls. VHA's Healthcare Operations Center (HOC) worked with Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISN) to gather data from VAMCs on a daily basis. HOC Data Collection on COVID-19 Preparedness Strategies Implemented at VAMCs The VHA-wide conference calls included officials from VHA Central Office, VISNs, and VAMCs, among others, and focused on the data collected. Some topics discussed included the number of VAMC staff able to provide PPE training and VAMC plans to screen staff and patients for COVID-19. VHA-wide calls were also a way to discuss data collection challenges and for VAMCs and VISNs to share best practices. In addition to the preparedness issues in this report, GAO expects to continue examining VHA's actions to address COVID-19. Why GAO Did This Study VHA provides health care to more than 10 million veterans each year, offering a range of services at approximately 170 VAMCs nationwide. In January 2020, components of VHA's emergency management system began coordinating the agency's efforts to prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic so VAMCs could continue the delivery of services while maintaining the health and safety of patients and staff. The CARES Act includes a provision for GAO to report on its ongoing monitoring and oversight efforts related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This report describes VHA efforts to prepare for COVID-19, including (1) how selected VAMCs implemented VHA's COVID-19 preparedness strategies; and (2) the steps VHA took to oversee VAMCs' implementation of preparedness strategies. GAO reviewed VHA plans, policies, and guidance related to COVID-19 preparedness, including VHA's COVID-19 Response Plan. GAO interviewed officials at four VAMCs, a nongeneralizable sample selected based on hospital complexity and geographic diversity, as well as officials from their associated VISNs. GAO also interviewed officials from VHA's Central Office, Office of Emergency Management, HOC, and other VHA offices. GAO provided a draft of this report to VA. In response, VA provided one technical comment, which was incorporated as appropriate. For more information, contact A. Nicole Clowers at (202) 512-7114 or clowersa@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Brazilian Partnership to Begin Producing NASA-Designed COVID-19 Ventilator
    In Space
    The Brazilian Health [Read More…]
  • Electricity Grid: Opportunities Exist for DOE to Better Support Utilities in Improving Resilience to Hurricanes
    In U.S GAO News
    Since 2012, utilities have taken steps to improve grid resilience to severe hurricanes, such as (1) implementing storm hardening measures to enable the grid to better withstand the effects of hurricanes; (2) adopting technologies to enhance operational capacity and help quickly restore service following disruptions; and (3) participating in mutual aid programs with other utilities and training and planning exercises. For example, utilities have implemented storm hardening measures that include elevating facilities and constructing flood walls to protect against storm surges. Utilities have also adopted technologies that enhance communication capabilities and monitor systems to detect, locate, and repair sources of disruptions. However, these utilities reported challenges justifying grid resilience investments to obtain regulatory approval, and some utilities have limited resources to pursue such enhancements. Example of Hurricane Resilience Improvement: Elevated Substation Various federal agencies can provide funding for efforts to enhance grid resilience to hurricanes, including the Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). However, eligibility for most federal funding for grid resilience, including some USDA and FEMA funding, is limited to publicly owned utilities and state, tribal, and local governments. The Department of Energy (DOE) does not provide direct funding for grid resilience improvements, but it has efforts under way, including through its National Laboratories, to provide technical assistance and promote research and collaboration with utilities. DOE has also initiated preliminary efforts to develop tools for resilience planning, including resilience metrics and other tools such as a framework for planning, but DOE does not have a plan to guide these efforts. Without a plan to guide DOE efforts to develop tools for resilience planning, utilities may continue to face challenges justifying resilience investments. In addition, DOE lacks a formal mechanism to inform utilities about the efforts of its National Laboratories. Such a mechanism would help utilities leverage existing resources for improving grid resilience to hurricanes. Hurricanes pose significant threats to the electricity grid in some U.S. coastal areas and territories and are a leading cause of major power outages. In recent years, hurricanes have impacted millions of customers in these areas. Adoption of technologies and other measures could improve the resilience of the grid so that it is better able to withstand and rapidly recover from severe weather; this could help mitigate the effects of hurricanes. This report examines (1) measures utilities in selected states have adopted to enhance grid resilience following major hurricanes since 2012 and any challenges utilities face funding such measures; and (2) federal efforts to support the adoption of measures to enhance grid resilience to hurricanes and any opportunities that exist to improve these efforts. For this report, GAO assessed agency and industry actions; reviewed relevant reports, policies, and documents; and interviewed federal, industry, and local officials. GAO recommends that DOE (1) establish a plan to guide its efforts to develop tools for resilience planning, and (2) develop a mechanism to better inform utilities about grid resilience efforts at the National Laboratories. DOE agreed in principle with these recommendations, but its proposed actions do not fully address GAO's concerns. For more information, contact Frank Rusco at (202) 512-3841 or ruscof@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Asteroid 1998 OR2 to Safely Fly Past Earth This Week
    In Space
    The large near-Earth [Read More…]
  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken at a Press Availability
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Secretary Blinken’s Call with Haitian Prime Minister Henry 
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • [Protest of Navy Solicitation for Base Maintenance Services]
    In U.S GAO News
    A firm protested a Navy solicitation for base maintenance services, contending that the Navy: (1) improperly failed to extend bid opening after amending the solicitation; and (2) failed to equalize competition after the incumbent contractor sold contract-related information to two bidders. GAO held that the: (1) Navy properly refused to extend the closing date, since it achieved adequate competition and there was no evidence that it deliberately attempted to exclude the protester; (2) Navy was not required to compensate for bidders' legal acquisition of incumbent contractor's contract information, since the information's availability was not the result of improper or unfair Navy actions; and (3) incumbent contractor's sale of information was not a prohibited contingent-fee arrangement, since the services did not involve any dealings with government officials. Accordingly, the protest was denied.
    [Read More…]
  • U.S. Imposes Additional Costs on Russia for Aleksey Navalny Poisoning
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Ned Price, Department [Read More…]
  • Africa Adaptation Acceleration Summit
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Announces Settlement with Gap Inc., While Celebrating the 35th Anniversary of a Law Prohibiting Immigration-Related Employment Discrimination
    In Crime News
    Marking 35 years since Congress passed the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), the Department of Justice today announced a settlement with Gap Inc. (Gap), resolving claims that Gap violated this law by routinely discriminating against certain non-U.S. citizens working for the company.
    [Read More…]
  • Secretary Pompeo’s Meeting with Vietnamese Prime Minister Phuc
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Under Secretary Nuland’s Travel to South Africa, Botswana, Tanzania, and Niger
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Veterans Affairs: Use of Additional Funding for COVID-19 Relief
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) received $19.6 billion in supplemental funding—additional funding above the annual appropriation—in March 2020 to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. GAO's analysis of VA data shows that through March 2021, VA had obligated $9.9 billion and expended $8.1 billion of the supplemental funding. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Reported Obligations and Expenditures of CARES Act and Families First Coronavirus Response Act Funding through March 2021 Note: An obligation is a definite commitment that creates a legal liability to pay, and an expenditure is the actual spending of money. The majority of the obligated supplemental funding ($8.3 billion) was obligated by VA's Veterans Health Administration (VHA) for care provided to veterans by non-VA providers, the additional costs of salaries (such as for overtime) and related expenses of VHA staff, supplies and materials, and support for homeless veterans, due to COVID-19 response. The remaining obligations included costs of VA's transition to telehealth and telework during the COVID-19 pandemic, primarily through the Office of Information Technology (OIT). According to spend plan documents and department officials, VA plans to obligate its remaining $9.7 billion in funding on activities including COVID-19 testing, purchasing supplies and equipment, and distributing COVID-19 vaccines. VA mainly relies on its standard financial management processes to oversee the use of supplemental funds, including establishing new versions of standard financial codes to account for and report on use of funds through VA's financial system. VA also collected details about the use of supplemental funding, such as descriptions of the activities for which funds were obligated, that were not available in its financial system. In addition, the VA components that received the majority of the supplemental funding—VHA and OIT—set up additional processes and issued guidance specific to the use of supplemental funding, such as establishing councils to review funding requests. Why GAO Did This Study As of April 14, 2021, VA reported 224,538 cumulative veteran cases of COVID-19, and 11,366 deaths. The CARES Act and Families First Coronavirus Response Act included supplemental funding for COVID-19 relief, and the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, permitted VA additional flexibility to transfer these funds across the department. The CARES Act also included a provision for GAO to report on its ongoing monitoring and oversight efforts related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This report examines 1) VA's obligations and expenditures of COVID-19 supplemental funding, as well as its plans to obligate remaining funds, and 2) how VA oversees the use of COVID-19 supplemental funds. GAO reviewed VA data on obligations, expenditures, and spend plans for COVID-19 supplemental funding, as well as contracting documentation and documentation on the processes and guidance VA developed to oversee the use of funds. GAO interviewed VA officials responsible for oversight of the supplemental funding, including officials from five regional networks, selected based on funding levels and geography, to gather information about their roles in overseeing the use of and accounting for supplemental funding. VA reviewed a draft of this report and provided a technical comment, which was incorporated as appropriate. For more information, contact Sharon M. Silas at (202) 512-7114 or silass@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Harvard University Professor Convicted of Making False Statements and Tax Offenses
    In Crime News
    The former Chair of Harvard University’s Chemistry and Chemical Biology Department was convicted by a federal jury today in connection with lying to federal authorities about his affiliation with the People’s Republic of China’s Thousand Talents Program and the Wuhan University of Technology (WUT) in Wuhan, China, as well as failing to report income he received from WUT.
    [Read More…]
  • Capital Fund Proposal: Upfront Funding Could Benefit Some Projects, but Other Potential Effects Not Clearly Identified
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found Federal agencies have long struggled to obtain full, upfront funding for capital investments to acquire and maintain federal buildings. GAO's review of three selected federal capital projects suggests that such funding might have benefitted those projects and their agencies. For example, GAO estimated that full, upfront funding for the Department of Transportation's headquarters building might have saved up to $1.2 billion by allowing construction of a new headquarters versus what did occur—the General Services Administration (GSA) leased space for years and eventually purchased the building that it had leased. U. S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) Headquarters Washington D. C. In an effort to improve federal agencies' access to full, upfront funding for capital investments, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) proposed the $10 billion Federal Capital Revolving Fund Act of 2018 (Capital Fund). The Capital Fund, which would be administered by GSA, could provide upfront funding for certain capital projects of $250 million or more, with agencies repaying the Capital Fund over a 15-year period. While the 2018 Capital Fund proposal has not been enacted, a Capital Fund was referenced in each of the President's budgets since 2019 and in a bill that was introduced in the Senate in May 2021. During the course of GAO's review, officials from GSA and OMB expressed different perspectives on the proposed Capital Fund, and how it might affect the existing Federal Buildings Fund (Buildings Fund) is unclear. GSA officials said that the proposed Capital Fund could divert revenue away from the existing Buildings Fund, which receives rent from GSA tenant agencies and from which GSA pays maintenance and repair costs. OMB officials told us that the Capital Fund could benefit the Buildings Fund by promoting federal ownership over leasing and possibly adding assets to GSA's inventory. GAO identified additional circumstances in which the Capital Fund could affect the Buildings Fund. For example, while the tenant agency would pay operating costs during the first 25-years, the proposal does not directly address what would occur if GSA incurred significant repair costs during this period. As GSA would administer the Capital Fund and manage the Buildings Fund, it is in the best position to analyze when these circumstances might occur and their potential scope as well as how the two funds might interact. Identifying and communicating the possible effects would help OMB and Congress more fully consider legislative proposals. Why GAO Did This Study Since 2003, federal real property management has been on GAO's High-Risk List, in part due to upfront- funding challenges. If enacted, the Capital Fund could provide upfront funding to agencies for certain projects to acquire, construct, or renovate buildings and other federal real property. The existing Buildings Fund funds such projects and the operations and maintenance needs of GSA's portfolio. GAO was asked to review the Capital Fund proposal. This report: (1) describes how federal agencies might have used expanded access to full, upfront funding had it been available, for three selected projects and (2) assesses stakeholder views on the proposed Capital Fund and whether it would affect the Buildings Fund. To assess how agencies might have used full, upfront funding, GAO reviewed three recent capital projects of $250 million or more, selected for the differences in type of project (i.e., acquisition, new construction, and renovation). GAO also analyzed the Capital Fund proposal, GSA's budget, and other documents. Additionally, GAO interviewed GSA and OMB officials.
    [Read More…]
  • San Antonio man indicted for smuggling cocaine in pickup truck axle
    In Justice News
    A 24-year-old San [Read More…]
  • Secretary Pompeo to Deliver Remarks to the Media in the Press Briefing Room
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Appointment of Ambassador Stuart E. Eizenstat as Special Adviser on Holocaust Issues
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Judges Bring Students and Their Families an Inside Look at The Bill of Rights
    In U.S Courts
    Students and parents across the Midwest gathered around computer screens set up at kitchen tables, desks, and couches to join federal judges and volunteer attorneys in an educational celebration of the Bill of Rights in advance of its Dec. 15 anniversary.
    [Read More…]

Crime

Network News © 2005 Area.Control.Network™ All rights reserved.