EU adopts new chemical weapons sanctions

Potential restrictive measures could involve travel bans and asset freezes

EU foreign ministers have approved in Luxembourg on Monday a new regime of restrictive measures to address the use and proliferation of chemical weapons all around the world. Under the 15 October decision of the EU Council, the EU will be allowed to impose asset freezes and visa bans on people and entities for the development and use of chemical weapons, regardless of their nationality and location.

The framework would also affect those who provide financial, technical or material support, and those who assist, encourage or are associated with those listed. "This decision contributes to the EU's efforts to counter the proliferation and use of chemical weapons which poses a serious threat to international security," the ministers' statement said.

Work on listing people under the new sanctions regime is under way. As draft conclusions of an upcoming EU summit in Brussels on October 18, seen by RFE/RL, show, the EU leaders “look forward to early progress on the listing of relevant individuals and entities.”

The summit is also due to discuss the possibility of creating another sanctions regime dealing with cyberattacks after the accusations by British and Dutch authorities earlier this month that Russian agents in April had tried to hack the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

The move follows repeated accusations of the use of chemical weapons by President Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria and the poisoning of the Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, England in March, which London has blamed on the Russian government.

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