OSCE Permanent Council
15 March 2018
Statement by HE Dr Brendon Hammer, Ambassador of Australia
Nerve agent attack in the United Kingdom
Thank you Chair,
As an Asian Partner to the OSCE Australia welcomes the statement by the UK, and the attention being paid here today to the case of Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia.
As a country that dedicated itself to the development – and to the implementation – of the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention Australia is gravely concerned that a military-grade nerve agent developed by Russia was used in an attack on 4 March in Salisbury in the United Kingdom.
The Australian Prime Minister and our Minister for Foreign Affairs jointly released a statement today expressing Australia’s solidarity with the UK, and our outrage over this targeted attempt to commit murder using chemical weapons; the first use of chemical weapons in Europe since World War II.
Australia condemns the use of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere, under any circumstances.
There is simply no circumstance that justifies the use of such indiscriminate, abhorrent weapons.
Australia registers that UK Prime Minister May has made a compelling case on the responsibility of the Russian State for this attack.
And we note that Prime Minister May has described the Russian Government’s response to the event as demonstrating complete disdain for the gravity of the situation, and as a response of sarcasm, contempt and defiance.
Australia supports the UK Government's commitment to ensure a full investigation and efforts to bring those responsible to justice. We also support the UK Government’s right to take retaliatory measures, including its decision to expel 23 Russian diplomats and call for an emergency session of the UN Security Council.
On 14 March Australia conveyed our serious concerns about this chemical weapons attack at a meeting of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague. We also raised our serious concerns at the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Australia is considering its further responses on this matter – and in support of the United Kingdom – in close consultation with the UK Government and other partners.