Brunei’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT) issued a statement on Tuesday condemning the use of chemical weapons, saying it remains “deeply concerned over recent incidents which involve the use of chemical weapons”.
Without citing any specific incident, the ministry’s statement comes after Western countries say scores of civilians sheltering from bombs were gassed to death in Douma, Syria, on April 7. The Syrian government and its ally Russia deny that any chemical attack took place.
In response to the suspected attack, the United States, the UK and France launched coordinated air strikes on April 14 against three Syrian targets, which the allies say were designed to degrade the remaining chemical weapons facilities of Bashar al-Assad’s government.
A fact-finding mission comprised experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) are expected to enter Douma, an eastern suburb of Damascus, on Wednesday to inspect the scene for evidence of chemical weapons use by the Assad regime.
Brunei is a member state of the OPCW — an intergovernmental body affiliated with the United Nations — and ratified the Convention on Chemical Weapons in 1997, which outlaws the production, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons.
MOFAT said yesterday that the sultanate supports the work and efforts of the OPCW in eliminating chemical weapon arsenals and production facilities, as well as in the non-proliferation of chemical weapons.
It’s the second time in a matter of weeks the OPCW has been called on to investigate the use of chemical weapons. In another high-profile case, the poisoning of a Russian former spy and his daughter in Britain, the watchdog confirmed that a nerve agent had been used in the attempted killing.
Featured photo taken on November 15, 2013 shows an exterior view of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) building in The Hague. AFP PHOTO