Announcement to media on last consignment of chemicals leaving Syria

Monday, 23 June 2014

Ahmet Üzümcü, Director-General OPCW

Statement by Ahmet Üzümcü, Director-General OPCW

Just under 9 months ago in October, I addressed you members of the press - in this same place, here in The Hague - to announce the deployment of the first OPCW inspectors to Syria to begin an historic and unprecedented mission. The mission was to destroy the chemical weapons programme of the Syrian Arab Republic.

A major landmark in this mission has been reached today. The last of the remaining chemicals identified for removal from Syria were loaded this afternoon aboard the Danish ship Ark Futura. The ship made its last call at the port of Latakia in what has been a long and patient campaign in support of this international endeavour.

Removing the stockpile of precursor and other chemicals has been a fundamental condition in the programme to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons programme.

The next stage in this mission is the completion of the maritime operations to deliver the chemicals for destruction at the assigned facility on board the U.S. vessel Cape Ray and at commercial facilities in Finland, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

The mission to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons programme has been a major undertaking marked by an extraordinary international cooperation.

Never before has an entire arsenal of a category of weapons of mass destruction been removed from a country experiencing a state of internal armed conflict. And this has been accomplished within very demanding and tight timeframes.

The mission has seen over 30 countries and European Union committing significant financial and in-kind assistance. This cooperation covered key logistical and transportation requirements, including a complex maritime operation. The collaboration with Member States relating to destruction activities and the provision of equipment and industrial facilities for this purpose is unprecedented in the history of disarmament. I wish to express our profound gratitude to all these States Parties. 

This collective endeavour was born here, in The Hague, of a treaty that has more than demonstrated its resilience and responsiveness. Following the Framework Agreement concluded between the Russian Federation and the United States of America, the OPCW was called upon to devise and implement an elaborate programme. Various milestones and interlocking steps for a sequenced elimination and verification were established.

The Executive Council of the OPCW supported by the Secretariat remained fully engaged in its oversight of the implementation of the programme. Some eighteen meetings of the Executive Council have so far taken place at OPCW Headquarters, with numerous rounds of informal meetings and technical consultations in the background.

There were expected and unexpected challenges along the way. But the OPCW and member states have been able to overcome them – both through careful diplomacy and innovative technical solutions.

Although there were delays in the process, the cooperation of the Syrian Arab Republic has been commensurate with the requirements of the decisions.

And, crucially, we were able to count on the invaluable cooperation of the United Nations to provide logistical and security support for our verification effort in Syria through the OPCW-UN Joint Mission.

I take this opportunity to commend the Special Coordinator of the OPCW-UN Joint Mission, Ms Sigrid Kaag, and all those OPCW and UN staff who have participated in this mission. Their dedication and professionalism, in challenging circumstances, have been a key factor in the attainment of the critical progress that we recognise today.

While a major chapter in our endeavours closes today, OPCW’s work in Syria will continue. We hope to conclude soon the clarification of certain aspects of the Syrian declaration and commence the destruction of certain structures that were used as chemical weapons production facilities. Syria’s cooperation with the work of the OPCW Fact Finding Mission will also remain important. The OPCW will continue to engage with Syria to ensure that it is able to fulfil all its obligations under the CWC and the relevant decisions of the Executive Council and UN Security Council resolution 2118 (2013).



Categories: Director-General, OPCW and the UN, Syria

For further information, please contact Peter Sawczak, Acting Head, OPCW Media & Public Affairs. Tel: + 31 (0) 70 416 3725 or +31 (0)(0) 6 4681 2954 or media@opcw.org | ORGANISATION FOR THE PROHIBITION OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS, Johan de Wittlaan 32, 2517 JR The Hague, The Netherlands

More news

Visit to OPCW by Senior Civil Servants from Pakistan

The Director-General received a delegation from the National Management College of Pakistan yesterday at OPCW Headquarters in The Hague. The delegation was led by the Dean of the College, Mr Naeem Aslam, and included senior civil...20 May 2015Full story

World Class The Hague Meets with OPCW Director-General

During an event at OPCW Headquarters on 12 May, Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü delivered a lecture to over 100 international students on the objectives, activities and challenges facing the OPCW. Following the lecture, Ambassador...19 May 2015Full story

The 7th Analytical Chemistry Course under the Programme to Strengthen Cooperation with Africa

The OPCW and Protechnik Laboratories co-organised an Analytical Chemistry Course (ACC) for African Member States in Pretoria, South Africa from 4 to 15 May 2015. This course is held yearly since 2009 and is modelled along the...18 May 2015Full story

H.E. Mr Juan José Quintana Aranguren (Colombia)

H.E. Mr Juan José Quintana Aranguren, Permanent Representative of Colombia to the OPCW presented his credentials to the Director-General on Monday 18 May 2015.18 May 2015Full story

H.E. Mr. Emilian Brenici (Moldova)

H.E. Mr. Emilian Brenici, Permanent Representative of Moldova to the OPCW, presented his credentials to the Director-General on Tuesday, 12 May 2015.12 May 2015Full story

Regional Meeting in Beijing on Education and Outreach for States Parties in Asia

The Deputy Director-General of the OPCW, Ambassador Grace Asirwatham, jointly with the Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs of China, H.E. Mr. Liu Jianchao, opened the Regional Meeting on Education and Outreach for States...08 May 2015Full story

H.E Mr Carmelo Nvono Ncá (Equatorial Guinea)

H.E Mr Carmelo Nvono Ncá   the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea to the OPCW, presented his credentials to the Director-General on 8 May 2015. 08 May 2015Full story

Third International Training on Sampling and Analysis in a Highly-Contaminated Environment Held in Poland

The OPCW and the Government of Poland, with the support of the Polish Central School of the State Fire Service, jointly organized the Third Course on Sampling and Analysis in a Highly Contaminated Environment, which took place in...08 May 2015Full story

OPCW Director-General visits Kazakhstan

The OPCW Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü visited Astana, Kazakhstan from 3-5 May. During his visit, the Director-General was received by the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, H.E. Mr Karim Massimov, and the Chairman of the...06 May 2015Full story

Centenary of First Large-Scale Use of Chemical Weapons in Ieper commemorated in Argentina

The Centenary of the First Large-Scale Use of Chemical Weapons in Ieper during World War I was commemorated in a ceremony organised at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Commerce and Cult on 22 April 2015 in Buenos...30 April 2015Full story

Displaying 1 to 10 of 1512
<< First < Previous 1-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 Next > Last >>

OPCW news by e-mail

Subscribe

Are you subscribed already and wish to unsubscribe or update your profile?