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

OPCW and UK host Workshop on Training Inspection Escorts for representatives from Angola and Myanmar

The OPCW, in cooperation with the Government of the United Kingdom conducted a four-day workshop on Training Inspection Escorts for representatives from Angola and Myanmar from 22-25 June, 2015. The workshop comprised a training...02 July 2015Full story

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic Visits the OPCW

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, H.E. Mr Lubomír Zaorálek, visited the OPCW on 29 June 2015 and met the Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü. The Director-General and the Minister discussed a broad...30 June 2015Full story

OPCW Director-General Speaks at CTBTO Conference

The OPCW Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, delivered a keynote speech to the CTBT: Science and Technology 2015 Conference (SnT2015) on 22 June 2015 upon the invitation of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty...23 June 2015Full story

Chemical Safety and Security Management Course Enhances Lab Capacity in Latin America and Caribbean Region

Nineteen participants from the Latin America and Caribbean region recently participated in a course on chemical safety and security in Argentina. Organised by the OPCW in collaboration with the Instituto Nacional de Tecnología...23 June 2015Full story

German Bundestag Delegation Visits the OPCW

The Deputy Director-General, Ambassador Grace Asirwatham, met on 22 June 2015 a delegation from the Sub-Committee on Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-Proliferation of the German Bundestag.  The delegation comprised Mr...23 June 2015Full story

The Executive Director of the United Nations Office for Projects Services (UNOPS) Visits the OPCW

The Executive Director of the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), Ms Grete Faremo, visited the OPCW Headquarters on 19 June 2015 and met with the Director-General, Ambassador Üzümcü. Ambassador Üzümcü and Ms...22 June 2015Full story

Director-General of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa visits the OPCW

The Director-General of the Department of International Relations and Co-operation of the Republic of South Africa, Ambassador Jerry Matjila, visited the OPCW on 18 June 2015 and met with the OPCW Director-General, Ambassador...22 June 2015Full story

Disposal of effluents from neutralised Syrian chemical weapons completed

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) welcomes the completion of disposal of effluents resulting from neutralisation operations aboard the US vessel Cape Ray.  These operations governed the...17 June 2015Full story

OPCW Executive Council Visits China to Review Progress on Destruction of Abandoned Chemical Weapons

A high-level delegation representing the OPCW Executive Council visited the People’s Republic of China from 8-12 June 2015 to assess the status of efforts to destroy chemical weapons abandoned by Japan on the territory of China....12 June 2015Full story

OPCW Scientific Advisory Board Issues Report on Verification

The Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) held its 22nd session from 8 to 12 June 2015 at OPCW Headquarters in The Hague under the chairmanship of Dr Christopher Timperley (United Kingdom and Northern Ireland), with Mr Cheng Tang...12 June 2015Full story

Displaying 1 to 10 of 1534
<< 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?