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 Concludes Basic Course for National Authorities on Implementation of the CWC

The 17th Basic Course for representatives of the National Authorities was held by the OPCW at its headquarters in The Hague from 23 to 27 March 2015, with 42 participants representing the National Authorities of 39 States...31 March 2015Full story

H.E. Mr Guillermo Piña Contreras (Dominican Republic)

H.E. Mr Guillermo Piña Contreras, the Permanent Representative of the Dominican Republic to the OPCW, presented his credentials to the Director-General on 30 March 2015.30 March 2015Full story

Director-General Meets with Members of the European Parliament

A delegation of Members of the European Parliament, Ms Marietje Schaake and Ms Judith Sargentini, and their staff met today with the Director-General and senior OPCW officials at the OPCW’s headquarters in The Hague.  They...26 March 2015Full story

Allegations of toxic chemical attacks in Syria

Commenting on recent reports about alleged toxic chemical attacks in Syria, the OPCW Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, said, "We have been monitoring the recent reports suggesting that toxic chemicals may have been...25 March 2015Full story

Picture of the opening of the Exhibition on Chemical Weapons in WWI on 17 March 2015

Exhibition on Chemical Weapons in WWI Opens at OPCW

A chemical artillery shell and a gas mask for a horse are among the highlights of an exhibition, "Chemical Weapons in World War I", which opened today at OPCW Headquarters in The Hague.The exhibition features artifacts,...17 March 2015Full story

The Fourth Regional Training Course on Emergency Response to Chemical Incidents for Asian States Parties Held in Singapore

The Government of Singapore and the OPCW jointly organised the Fourth basic training course on emergency response to chemical incidents for Asian States Parties. It was held with the support of the Singapore Customs and Civil...17 March 2015Full story

Workshop on Defense, Security and the Implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) Held in Africa

The OPCW in partnership with the African Union and the governments of the United States and South Africa jointly organised a “Workshop on Security, the Implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and Cooperative...12 March 2015Full story

H.E. Mr Ittiporn Boonpracong (Thailand)

H.E. Mr Ittiporn Boonpracong of Thailand presented his credentials to the Director-General on 11 March 2015.12 March 2015Full story

Basic Regional Course for Specialists on Responding to Chemical Warfare Agents and Toxic Industrial Chemicals (TICs) Held in Santo Domingo

The OPCW jointly organized with the National Authority of the Dominican Republic a Basic regional course for specialists on responding to chemical warfare agents and Toxic Industrial Chemicals (TICs). The course was held from 2...09 March 2015Full story

Director-General Speaks at Nobel Peace Prize Forum

The Director-General delivered a keynote address at the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize Forum, which took place in Minneapolis on 6-9 March.  The work of the OPCW featured prominently at this year’s Forum in photo exhibits and a...09 March 2015Full story

Displaying 1 to 10 of 1482
<< 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?