The Director-General of the OPCW, H.E. Mr. Ahmet Üzümcü, visited Switzerland from 23 to 24 May 2011 where he spoke at several conferences and events in Geneva and Interlaken.
Ambassador Üzümcü gave a keynote speech at the 14th Annual Chemical Weapons Demilitarization Conference, held at Interlaken. The conference brought together chemical disarmament professionals from around the world as well as diplomats dealing with the OPCW.
“Since entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention more than 65% of the 71,000 metric tonnes of chemical warfare agents declared to the OPCW have been destroyed under international verification by the OPCW – including the entire stockpiles of three States Parties,” the Director-General said in his statement, which he called “an unprecedented achievement in the history of disarmament.”
In Geneva the Director-General was invited to address the Conference on Disarmament (CD) by the CD President, Ambassador Wang Qun of China, and its former President, Ambassador Marius Grinius of Canada. In his address Ambassador Üzümcü referred to the Chemical Weapons Convention as the CD’s last major success story in terms of negotiations.
“The Chemical Weapons Convention resulted from a common vision of a world forever free from chemical weapons” he said. “It was concluded successfully because all negotiating parties were prepared to make compromises for the sake of consensus.”
During his visit the Director-General met with the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, H.E. Mr. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. He also gave presentations at both the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, and at the Geneva School of Diplomacy where he holds an honorary doctorate.
Before taking up his duties with the OPCW, Director-General Üzümcü was the Permanent Representative of Turkey to the United Nations Organisations in Geneva and in 2008 held the CD Presidency.