The Australia Group

Fighting the spread of chemical and biological weapons. Strengthening global security.

Statement by the Australia Group Chair: Addition of Novichok precursor chemicals to the Australia Group Control List

28 February 2020

Australia Group Participants gathered in Bratislava for an Intersessional Meeting on 6 February 2020, hosted by the Ministry of European and Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic.

Following that meeting, the Group agreed to add Novichok nerve agent precursors to the Australia Group control list of chemical weapons precursors. Australia Group participants agreed also to continue reviewing other potential chemical precursors that might need to be added to the control list in the future.

The Australia Group listing of these Novichok precursor chemicals follows and complements the November 2019 consensus decision by the Conference of States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention to add Novichok nerve agents to the Convention’s Schedule 1 of banned substances.

Coming on the eve of the second anniversary of the 4 March 2018 Salisbury nerve agent attack, the listing of these Novichok precursors reinforces the Australia Group’s concern at the re-emergence and use of chemical weapons, in violation of international laws and norms. The Group condemns the use of chemical weapons by anyone under any circumstances.

The Australia Group was established in 1985 as an informal forum of countries and seeks through the harmonisation of export controls and other measures, to ensure that their exports do not contribute to the development or use of chemical or biological weapons, as well as to help safeguard and strengthen global non-proliferation efforts.

The Australia Group participants are: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Cyprus, Republic of Korea, Republic of Turkey, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Further information on the Australia Group is available at www.australiagroup.net.