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

Speaker of Parliament of Uganda and Delegation visit the OPCW

The Speaker of Uganda’s Parliament, the Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, visited the OPCW on 14 April 2015 and met with the Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü and senior OPCW staff. Members of Ms Kadaga’s delegation included the...23 April 2015Full story

Chemical Safety Management Training Course convened for Asia, Latin America and Caribbean regions

Eleven participants from Asia, Latin America and Caribbean regions* recently completed a chemical safety management course at the Department of Safety Engineering at the Bergische Universität Wuppertal (“BUW”) in Germany. Jointly...23 April 2015Full story

H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden visits the OPCW

H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden visited the OPCW today and met with the Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü. The Crown Princess and the Director-General discussed a number of issues related to the implementation...22 April 2015Full story

OPCW States Parties issue historic Declaration on the centenary of the first large-scale use of chemical weapons in Ieper

At a special meeting of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) today in Ieper, Belgium, commemorating the hundredth anniversary of the first large-scale use of chemical weapons during World War I, the 190...21 April 2015Full story

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Visits the OPCW

The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Ms Federica Mogherini, visited the OPCW on 16 April 2015 and met with the Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü. The Director-General...21 April 2015Full story

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh Visits the OPCW

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh, H.E. Mr A. H. Mahmood Ali, visited the OPCW on 16 April 2015 and met with the Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü. The Director-General and the Foreign Minister discussed...20 April 2015Full story

Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Chile Visits the OPCW

The Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Chile, H.E. Mr Edgardo Riveros, visited the OPCW on 16 April and met with the Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü. During their meeting, the Director-General updated Vice-Minister...20 April 2015Full story

Minister of State for Security Policy and International Cooperation of Hungary Visits the OPCW

The Minister of State for Security Policy and International Cooperation of Hungary, Dr István Mikola, visited the OPCW today and met with the Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü. During their meeting, the Director-General...17 April 2015Full story

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia Visits the OPCW

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia, Mr Edgars Rinkēvičs visited the OPCW today, where he met with the Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, and other senior OPCW officials. The Director-General and Minister Rinkēvičs...16 April 2015Full story

Deputy Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka Visits the OPCW

The Deputy Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka, Mr Ajith P. Perera, visited the OPCW on 15 April 2015 and met with the Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü. Ambassador Üzümcü acknowledged Sri Lanka’s role in implementation of the...16 April 2015Full story

Displaying 1 to 10 of 1499
<< 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?