OPCW 15th anniversary: successful and relevant in fight to eradicate chemical weapons

Minister of Foreign Affairs Uri Rosenthal praised the achievements of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons on its 15th anniversary: ‘The OPCW has made tremendous progress in recent years and remains as relevant as ever to our efforts to create a world free of chemical weapons.’

This international organisation, established in The Hague in 1997, oversees the destruction of chemical weapons and carries out inspections all over the world. The OPCW has 188 member states, all of whom have ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention, undertaking to refrain from producing and using chemical weapons and to destroy existing stockpiles. Only eight countries have not acceded to the Convention.

Mr Rosenthal pointed out that concerns about chemical weapons in Syria confirm the importance of universal accession to the Convention. Syria is not an OPCW member state, but is a signatory to the Geneva Protocol of 1925, which prohibits the use of chemical weapons. Mr Rosenthal called upon the OPCW to monitor the situation in Syria closely; it is unacceptable for any country to use chemical weapons against its own citizens or another country, he said.

Two-thirds of the world’s declared chemical weapons stockpiles have been destroyed so far. Mr Rosenthal: ‘The Netherlands is fully confident that the aim of complete and permanent destruction of global stockpiles will be achieved’.