OPCW Director-General Meets UN Secretary-General

1 March 2012
Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü met United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 29 February 2012 at the UN Secretariat in New York. Their discussion focused on recent developments in Libya and Syria as they concern the OPCW and implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Director-General Üzümcü provided an update to the Secretary-General on the status of some additional quantities of mustard agent and chemical weapons munitions that were discovered in Libya last year by the new government, and which had not been declared to the OPCW by the former regime. The materials were formally declared to the OPCW in late November and verified by OPCW inspectors in January.

The Director-General informed the Secretary-General that by decision of the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention, Libya must submit to the OPCW a detailed plan for destroying its remaining stockpiles, with a fixed completion date, by no later than 29 April 2012. He further stated that the OPCW is in regular communication with the new Libyan government on issues concerning the destruction planning.

Regarding Syria, the Director-General and the Secretary-General noted with concern the reports on the possible existence of chemical weapons in the country. Syria is not a Party to the Chemical Weapons Convention and the OPCW therefore has no legal mandate to conduct inspections in the country to verify the possible existence of chemical weapons or related activities.

The Director-General assured the Secretary-General that the OPCW will continue to follow developments closely. He said the OPCW remains available at all times to engage with the Syrian government and to provide technical assistance for Syria to join the Convention, if requested to do so.

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