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Watchdog gets authority to assign blame in chemical attacks

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Member nations of the global chemical weapons watchdog have voted to give the organization the authority to apportion blame for attacks, expanding its powers.

The vote got the necessary two-thirds majority on Wednesday during a meeting at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which so far lacked the ability to say who was responsible when there was a chemical attack.

The vote came on a proposal from Britain. British representative Peter Wilson said it had 30 co-sponsors and passage will allow OPCW “not just to say when chemical weapons are used, but by whom.”

The vote came at the end of a diplomatic standoff at the two-day meeting between Britain and its key Western allies on one side, and Russia and Syria on the other.

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