Messages sent to the OPCW on the occasion of our 20th Anniversary commemoration.
Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (asean)
On behalf of the Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Philippines wishes to extend its warmest congratulations on the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
These past 20 years have shown the unwavering commitment of the OPCW towards demilitarization and the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. It also remains at the forefront of promoting chemistry as a peaceful tool for national development and prosperity, as well as in educating, training and providing opportunities for strengthening the capacities of Member States in their own implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.
ASEAN, too, is celebrating an auspicious occasion in 2017. We are 50 years this year, and as we celebrate this golden event, our priorities have become ever clearer: to place our peoples at the core of ASEAN, work for regional peace and led growth, strengthen ASEAN resiliency, and promote ASEAN as a model of regionalism and as a global player. ASEAN at 50 strives to be people-oriented and people-centered.
Indeed, ASEAN and the OPCW have much in common, in particular their desire to ensure regional and global security and safety, not only for this generation but for generations to come. ASEAN and the OPCW share keen interest in prohibiting the use of chemical weapons and toxic chemicals as a weapon anywhere by anyone and under any circumstance.
ASEAN calls upon all States that have yet to sign or ratify the Convention to do so without further delay, as universal accession to the Convention is crucial to its success.
ASEAN looks forward to deeper and more meaningful cooperation and collaboration with the OPCW.
Former Chairman of Working Group A
Dear Director-General Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü,
On the 20th anniversary of the OPCW, I would like to congratulate you and the entire Secretariat staff for the excellent work done by the organization in fulfilling the mandate given by the Chemical Weapons Convention to destroy all chemical weapons in the possession of it state parties in a defined period. As Chairman of Working Group A and the Group of Experts on the program and budget of the Technical Secretariat and Permanent Representative of Cuba to the same, I was deeply grateful for the just recognition for the work done by the OPCW since its constitution in 1997 on the occasion of the Nobel Peace Prize given to the OPCW in 2013.
I am sure that the OPCW under your leadership will continue to achieve new successes in its mandate to achieve the destruction of all chemical weapons in the possession of its member states.
Jorge Morales Pedraza
Former Ambassador and Former Chair of Working Group A
Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
‘I would like to congratulate the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü on the OPCW’s 20th anniversary. Throughout these years, the OPCW has done very important work towards achieving the goal of a world free of chemical weapons,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.
The OPCW was founded on 29 April 1997 to implement the Chemical Weapons Convention that entered into force the same year. Today, 20 years later, more than 94 % of the world’s declared stockpiles of chemical weapons have been destroyed under verification by the OPCW. The organisation was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013 for its work for international peace and security.
‘The appalling gas attack in Syria earlier this month highlights the importance of ensuring that all chemical weapons are destroyed. The OPCW, in cooperation with the UN, skilfully performs the important task of detecting and investigating violations of the Chemical Weapons Convention under extremely difficult conditions,’ Mr Brende said.
The OPCW played an important role in the removal and destruction of the reported stockpiles of chemical weapons and chemicals in Syria and Libya. Syria joined the Chemical Weapons Convention in 2013. However, the OPCW and the UN have concluded that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons against its own people since then. ISIL has also used improvised chemical weapons. The OPCW has gathered evidence and reported its findings to the UN Security Council.
European Union External Action Service (EEAS)
Statement by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini on the Twentieth Anniversary of the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the founding of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
“Today marks the twentieth anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention, and the EU renews its strong support to this successful international disarmament instrument that has helped the world to take steps for the full and complete eradication of an entire category of weapons of mass destruction. This is also an occasion to call on all States not yet party to the Convention to ratify or accede to it without delay and unconditionally. The world should have already got rid of such horrifying means.
What happened in the town of Khan Sheikhoun on 4 April 2017, with its horrific consequences, causing the death and injuries of scores of civilians including children and relief workers, reminds us once again of the importance of the full observance of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the important role of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
We reiterate our appreciation for the OPCW, the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013 laureate, and its dedicated staff for their work, very often in very challenging circumstances. The EU Member States which account for 40% of the OPCW annual budget and the EU through significant contributions have supported its core activities and specific operations.
More than one hundred years after the first massive use of them, chemical weapons, including of toxic chemicals, are still used against people who can have no escape from them. We reiterate our strong condemnation of the use of chemical weapons anywhere, at any time, by anyone, under any circumstances. We are fully committed to countering the re-emergence of chemical weapons and the evolving threat of chemical weapons falling into the hands of terrorist groups or other non-state actors, to eradicating non-state actors’ possession of such weapons, and to ensuring full accountability for any State or non-state actor which use them.”
Statement by German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel
Statement by Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel of Germany on the Twentieth Anniversary of the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the founding of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
“I warmly congratulate the OPCW on its 20th anniversary. As the guardian of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which almost all nations have joined, it has made the world a safer place through its activities during the last 20 years. The vast majority of chemical weapons in the world have already been destroyed under OPCW supervision. That is a great success, and the organisation has rightfully been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for this accomplishment.
At the same time, the cruel use of chemical weapons against the civilian population in Syria shows that the remaining chemical weapons can still inflict great suffering. We continue to fully support the OPCW and its Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü in their efforts to investigate the most recent chemical weapons attacks in Syria, as they work toward a world free of chemical weapons.
I call on the few countries that have not yet signed the Chemical Weapons Convention to do so as soon as possible. This way, the Convention can become universally applicable, and the remaining chemical weapons will soon be found only in history books.”
Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Islamabad
Letter from the Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Islamabad, Pakistan, Mr. Sartaj Aziz, to OPCW Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, on the Twentieth Anniversary of the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the founding of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
The 20th anniversary of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the OPCW is a historic milestone for the international community. This occasion signifies the success and resilience of cooperative multilateralism.
I take this opportunity to compliment you for your dynamic leadership and seminal contribution in advancing the objectives of the Convention. The OPCW also deserves our deep appreciation for its sterling role in the elimination of 95 % chemical weapons from across the world.
The recent use of chemical weapons in Syria should not be allowed to erode the global norm against the use of this inhumane instrument of war. Pakistan is confident that the OPCW’s Fact Finding Mission will conduct its investigations into this month’s chemical attack in Syria in a professional and timely manner.
Pakistan has been and will continue to be a strong supporter of the Convention and the OPCW for facilitating verifiable and complete chemical disarmament, promoting peaceful uses of chemistry and enabling the organization to meet future challenges.
I wish to take this opportunity to reaffirm Pakistan’s commitment to contribute constructively towards the implementation of the Convention as well as to extend all possible assistance to the Organization in the fulfillment of its mandate.
Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration. “
Press Statement by the Deputy Spokesperson for the United States Department of State
Press Statement by Mark C. Toner, Deputy Spokesperson for the United States Department of State on the Twentieth Anniversary of the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the founding of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
“The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), the world’s only multilateral treaty that verifiably bans an entire category of weapons of mass destruction, marks the 20th anniversary of its entry into force this Saturday, April 29. The CWC prohibits the development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, retention, transfer, and use of chemical weapons.
To date, the CWC—with 192 States Parties— has verified the destruction of approximately 95 percent of all declared chemical weapons stockpiles and has made a significant contribution to making our world a safer place. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the CWC’s governing body, has facilitated the destruction of chemical weapons in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Russia, Albania, China, and the United States – among others.
Nonetheless, the international community’s work is far from done, and serious challenges remain. In 2013, following devastating chemical weapons attacks on Damascus suburbs, Syria acceded to the CWC and agreed to comply with the Convention’s obligation to fully declare and eliminate its chemical weapons program. Despite the destruction of over 1,200 tons of chemical weapons and precursor chemicals, the OPCW has repeatedly expressed concerns about gaps, inconsistencies, and discrepancies in Syria’s declaration. The OPCW concerns preceded the most recent appalling chemical weapons attacks perpetrated by the Assad regime in Khan Shaykhun earlier this month.
Additional challenges include the reported use of the nerve agent VX in the assassination of Kim Jong-Nam in Malaysia, a heinous act representing a clear threat to international security. Further, ISIS has repeatedly used sulfur mustard in chemical weapons attacks in Syria, as well as in Iraq. There must be consequences for these actions and those responsible must be held accountable.
The United States remains committed to the CWC and the complete elimination of chemical weapons worldwide. We continue to call on the international community to stand with us and speak with one voice against the use of chemical weapons anywhere, by anyone. The use of chemical weapons by any actor lowers the threshold for others that may seek to follow suit, and raises the possibility that such weapons may be used against the United States, our allies or partners, or any other nation around the world. On the CWC’s 20th anniversary, we reaffirm that the use of chemical weapons will not be tolerated. ”
Statement the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada
Statement by the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs on on the Twentieth Anniversary of the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the founding of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
“When the Chemical Weapons Convention entered into force, 20 years ago today, the international community was united in denouncing the use of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere, under any circumstance.
“Over the past two decades, 192 countries have joined the convention. In doing so, each agreed to never develop, produce, acquire, stockpile or retain chemical weapons, and committed to destroying all of them.
“Unfortunately, the ongoing use of chemical weapons in Syria reminds us that additional work remains if the international community is to eliminate these weapons. Following the Syrian regime’s recent attack against its own people, Canada imposed sanctions on five entities and 17 high-ranking individuals in the Assad regime linked to the use of chemical weapons in Syria. As the prime minister said earlier this month, this attack is a war crime.
“Canada is among the largest voluntary contributors to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons [OPCW], charged with implementing the convention. Through its Weapons of Mass Destruction Threat Reduction Program, Canada has provided over $23 million to the OPCW since 2012 to help destroy chemical weapons in Libya, Iraq and Syria and to investigate allegations of chemical weapons use in the Syrian conflict.
“As Canada joins the international community to mark this important anniversary, we firmly restate our support for the OPCW’s tireless work to rid the world of chemical weapons. We commend the OPCW’s courageous and highly skilled inspectors for their invaluable work. We also call on the four remaining states outside the convention to join without delay.
“Most importantly, today we honour the memory of all the innocent children, women and men killed in chemical attacks. Today, and every day, we pledge to do everything we can to eradicate this weapon from our earth.”
Statement by Ambassador Sir Geoffrey Adams of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Statement by H.E. Ambassador Sir Geoffrey Adams, Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons on the Twentieth Anniversary of the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the founding of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
“I am delighted to congratulate the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on its 20th anniversary and to send my best wishes to Director-General Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü and all OPCW staff on this occassion
In the 20 years since its formation, dedicated and highly qualified staff at the OPCW have worked tirelessly to implement the Chemical Weapons Convention and to rid our world of the scourge of chemical weapons. No one anywhere should ever have to fear the threat of chemical weapons. That is why the UK fully supports the vision of the OPCW and its global endeavour to permanently and verifiably eliminate these weapons.
The task of the OPCW is unique and essential. The horrific events of recent weeks have only served to highlight the importance of its task. All states should work together to ensure that the world unites behind the work of the OPCW, as we all strive to achieve a world free of the threat of chemical weapons”
Message from the Honorable Prime Minister of Bangladesh
Statement by Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, on the Twentieth Anniversary of the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the founding of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Entry into Force of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the establishment of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-OPCW, I urge all to rid the world of chemical weapons.
On this day in 1997, the Chemical Weapons Convention entered into force making it a legally binding obligation to make the world free from the scourge of chemical weapons. It is a matter of satisfaction that 192 States have already ratified the Convention covering 98% of the global population and 94% of the world’s declared stockpile of chemical agents have been destroyed. On this auspicious occasion, I call upon the remaining States that are not Parties to the Convention to consider acceding to it at the earliest.
Bangladesh, as an original signatory to the Convention, is firmly committed to the aspirations of the OPCW in making the world safer by eliminating the threat of chemical weapons both by destroying the stockpile and preventing re-emergence of such weapon in any form.
We hope that the OPCW would be able to ensure that chemistry is used exclusively for peaceful purposes, especially in response to the rapid advances in science and production technologies.
As the leading contributor to the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations across the world, Bangladesh deeply values her sacrifice and contribution to world peace. Bangladesh’s recent election to the post of Chairperson of the Executive Council (2017-2018) is a manifestation of global recognition for our unwavering support for the world peace.
We reaffirm our commitment to world peace and reiterate our utmost support for the Chemical Weapons Convention and the OPCW towards achieving our common goal of a world free of chemical weapons.
May Bangladesh Live Forever.
NATO welcomes 20th anniversary of Chemical Weapons Convention
NATO welcomed the 20th anniversary of the Convention on Chemical Weapons on Saturday (29 April 2017), in a letter from Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
Mr Stoltenberg praised the OPCW’s work, noting that 94% of all declared chemical weapons worldwide have been eliminated under their monitoring over the past 20 years, with the remainder to be destroyed within six years.”
While welcoming progress, Secretary General Stoltenberg also stressed that “the job is far from done”, pointing to recent attacks in Syria and Iraq as evidence that some states and non-state actors are still prepared to use chemical weapons “to inflict barbaric harm”.
Mr Stoltenberg reiterated Allies’ strong support for the global non-proliferation regime and thanked the OPCW for its “vital contribution to peace and stability” in uncertain times.
Letter from the Romanian Minister for Foreign Affairs
Letter from the Romanian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Teodor Meleșcanu, to Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
“It is with great pleasure that I convey to you my most sincere congratulations on the occasion of the Twentieth Anniversary of the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention and of the founding of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
I take this opportunity to reaffirm Romania’s commitment to the CWC and its firm support for the activity of the OPCW. The 20th anniversary is a time to celebrate the impressive achievements of the Convention and of our Organisation during the past two decades rightfully mirrored in the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the OPCW in 2013 under your most able leadership. It is also a time of reflection on current and future challenges to the mission of the Organisation.
I would therefore like to assure you of my country’s resolve to further contribute together with the other OPCW Member States and the Technical Secretariat to the strengthening of the implementation of the Convention.
Looking forward to the continued close cooperation between Romania and the OPCW, please accept, dear Director-General, the assurances of my highest consideration. ”
Letter from the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus
Letter from the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, Vladimir Makei, to Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
“It gives me a great pleasure to extend my congratulations on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
The significant achievements that the OPCW has made in the chemical disarmament over these years serve as a good example for the international community in prohibition of the whole class of weapons of mass destruction.
I reaffirm the high importance that Belarus attaches to the effective interaction with the Organisation being confident that the potential of the Belarus-OPCW cooperation is far from being exhausted.
Please, accept, Your Excellency, my heartfelt wishes of good health and every success in your activities on this responsible position, as well as the assurances of my highest consideration. ”
Letter from the Former Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria
Letter from the Former Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria,Radi Naidenov, to Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
“I have the honour to congratulate you on the 20th Anniversary of the Nobel Peace Prize -winning Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
When, on 13 April 1993 in Paris, the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling, and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction was opened for accession, for the first time in the history of humankind 130 states, including the Republic of Bulgaria, declared their will to forever eliminate a whole class of weapons. This constitutes a precedent in our efforts to build a peaceful and secure world. Today we can all congratulate ourselves on achieving almost complete universality of the Convention which allows 98 percent of humankind to live free from the threat of chemical weapons.
The destruction of almost 95% of the declared chemical weapons assures that the high objectives of the Convention will be met in time and this is a source of contentment for all States Parties to the Convention.
As an active participant in the creation of the Convention and in the work of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the Republic of Bulgaria contributes to achieving a world free from the threat of chemical weapons’, a world of cooperation with science, business, and industry in the development of peaceful chemistry without which the progress of mankind would be unthinkable.
This is fully in line with the national interests of the Republic of Bulgaria. My country will celebrate the OPCW’s jubilee by expressing gratitude to all those who work to achieve the high goals of the Organisation and participate in the development of peaceful chemistry.
The Republic of Bulgaria shares the concerns of the international community about the serious challenges to world peace and security. The use of chemical weapons which, unfortunately, still takes place, is one of these challenges. That is why, together with other countries we will continue to actively work towards achieving the universality of the Chemical Weapons Convention, strengthening the capacity of the OPCW as a successful organisation in the field of security and disarmament that can adequately meet the current and future challenges including those related to non-state actors and the new developments in science and technology.
I avail myself of this opportunity to congratulate on your behalf the whole staff of the OPCW Secretariat on the 20th anniversary of the Organisation and to wish you further success in fulfilling your noble mission.
Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.”
Congratulatory Message from the Government of Jamaica
Congratulatory message on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention and founding of the OPCW – 29th April 2017 (to be celebrated 26th April 2017) from the Government of Jamaica.
“The Government of Jamaica is pleased to join the international community in commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction (Chemical Weapons Convention – CWC) and the establishment of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
The Organisation has much to be proud of, having recorded a remarkable achievement of eliminating approximately ninety four per cent of the declared chemical weapons stockpile, in keeping with its goal to end the development, production, stockpiling, transfer and use of chemical weapons, and to eliminate existing stocks of such weapons in a bid to ensure a world safe from the threat of chemical warfare. With one hundred and ninety-two Member States, the OPCW must be commended for having successfully garnered universal support for its work over a relatively short period of time.
The award of the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize to the OPCW is testament to the success of the Organisation’s efforts and the tangible contributions made towards the elimination of chemical weapons. Even in the midst of lauding these accomplishments, we are ever mindful of recent disturbing reports of the use of chemical weapons, to the detriment of mankind. This, however, reinforces the utility of the Convention and the relevance of the Organisation in global efforts to eliminate this scourge.
Having become a State Party to the CWC in 2000, the Government of Jamaica has remained committed to fulfilling its obligations under the Treaty. Our decision to host the Eighteenth Regional Meeting of National Authorities of States Parties in Latin American and the Caribbean in Montego Bay, Jamaica in June of this year is consistent with that commitment. We are also grateful to have benefitted over the years from the many programmes of technical assistance offered by the OPCW, which have facilitated our continuous efforts to achieve full national implementation of the Convention.
As we commemorate this important anniversary, the OPCW can be assured of Jamaica’s continued support and cooperation in ensuring a safe and peaceful future for current and succeeding generations in accordance with the vision of the Convention. We extend heartiest congratulations to the OPCW on twenty years of outstanding contribution to safeguarding a peaceful and sustainable environment. ”
Declaration from Slovakia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs
Declaration from Slovakia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs marking the 20th anniversary of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the foundation of the OPCW
“The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic welcomes the significant progress achieved over the past two decades in the implementation and universalization of the Chemical Weapons Convention, as testified by awarding the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize to the OPCW. As of today, 192 countries have become parties to the Convention, and thus automatically members of the OPCW. This includes virtually almost all UN member states. Tomorrow’s anniversary is therefore also a good opportunity to reiterate and support calls encouraging the remaining countries outside the Chemical Weapons Convention to accede to the Convention in the near future.
Despite significant achievements of the OPCW and its member states in the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, number of important and ongoing challenges facing the international community remain. First among them, the key issue of destroying chemical weapons in Syria, as well as implementing OPCW decisions and promoting the work and fulfilling the mandate of the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) in this regard.
From the outset, the Slovak Republic has been a strong and active supporter of the Chemical Weapons Convention as well as the OPCW mandate and activities. Slovakia was among the first to sign the Convention on January 14, 1993, just one day after the opening ceremony for signature in Paris. Subsequently, it ratified the Convention on October 17, 1995 and deposited the instruments of ratification with the Depositary of the Convention, the Secretary-General of the United Nations on October 27, 1995. The continued active involvement and engagement of Slovakia in this area has been furthermore underlined by its current two-year membership of the Executive Council of the OPCW – an executive body consisting of 41 countries and fulfilling an important role in the overall functioning of this organization. In addition, Slovakia has been recently elected a Vice-chair of the Executive Council of the OPCW for the Eastern European Group. It will perform this function for one year starting in May 2017.
Together with other EU member states, the Slovak Republic has been actively contributing towards achieving OPCW´s main goal – the destruction of all chemical weapons stockpiles globally by 2025 and the establishment of effective mechanisms for preventing re-development and production of chemical weapons. Witnessing the uncontrolled dissemination of information on how to produce chemical weapons available on the internet, the main task of OPCW members has therefore become the prevention of their production and use by the so-called non-state actors, especially terrorist organizations and organized crime groups. Achieving this goal, inter alia, envisages increased cooperation with academia and manufacturing sector. ”
Congratulatory Message from the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs
Written Statement by Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs The Hon Julie Bishop MP on the Twentieth Anniversary of the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the founding of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
“I congratulate the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in its 20th anniversary year. The OPCW rightly received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013 for its dedication to the elimination of chemical weapons globally. It is an impressive record with over 94 per cent of declared stockpiles destroyed.
Australia’s efforts in combatting the use of toxic chemicals as weapons has been steadfast. Australia was instrumental, with others, in finalising the text of the Chemical Weapons Convention, and was among the first to sign it in January 1993.
Our scientific and technical expertise has assisted in the implementation of the Convention, and supported the work of the OPCW since its inception. We continue that work today, including as a member of the OPCW Executive Council.
In this 20th anniversary year, we look forward to welcoming H.E. Mr Ahmet Üzümcü, Director-General of the OPCW, to Australia, where he will participate in Australia’s commemoration of the OPCW’s 20th Anniversary and also deliver a keynote address to the 17th Congress of the Federation of Asian Chemical Societies. The Federation is the peak body for chemical societies in the Asia-Pacific region. Such forums importantly remind us of the peaceful and practical uses and benefits of chemistry to society.
As the Chemical Weapons Convention and the OPCW move beyond these past two decades, and destruction in full of declared chemical weapon stockpiles is within our reach, we must remain vigilant. We cannot allow these heinous weapons to re-emerge nor the Convention to be violated. The OPCW’s credibility and integrity must not be undermined, nor the norms established by the international community eroded.
The Australian Government is committed to working with the OPCW to meet future challenges and to achieve the goal of a world free of chemical weapons.”