Timmermans congratulates Nobel Peace Prize winner OPCW

Minister of Foreign Affairs Frans Timmermans has congratulated The Hague-based Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on the award of the Nobel Peace Prize. ‘It is a well-deserved tribute to this important international organisation’, said Mr Timmermans. ‘The prize underscores the need to rid the world of weapons of mass destruction and is also a token of recognition for the often incredibly difficult circumstances under which OPCW inspectors have to work. A good example is their current effort to dismantle chemical weapon production facilities in Syria, where the civil war continues to rage.’

‘This can also be seen as a prize for international diplomacy and conflict prevention because where disarmament and non-proliferation programmes have been successful these heinous weapons are no longer a threat’, the Minister continued.

The OPCW monitors implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which came into force in 1997. The organisation has 189 member states who are working together to eliminate chemical weapons worldwide. Thanks to the OPCW, 80% of declared stockpiles in states party to the Convention have now been destroyed. The organisation’s inspectors also ensure that its member states only use chemicals for peaceful purposes.

The agreement between the US and Russia enabled the OPCW to adopt a decision on 27 September 2013 on the complete destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons by 30 June 2014. The decision was endorsed by the UN Security Council later that day. The dismantling of chemical weapon production facilities is now underway in Syria. The Netherlands is contributing €1.5 million to aid the decision’s implementation. It has also offered the OPCW staffing and logistical support to help ensure the success of this challenging mission.