The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Ahmet Üzümcü addressed the NATO Conference on Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation where he spoke about some of the security challenges facing the OPCW.
The two-day conference attracted the participation of more than 100 senior officials from more than 50 NATO and partner nations. Representatives from several major international organisations also gathered for the event.
In his keynote speech, Director-General Üzümcü summarised the current status of OPCW activities in the Syrian Arab Republic, and addressed the Organisation’s approach to countering chemical terrorism. While noting that the OPCW has achieved success in realising tangible disarmament achievements, he stated that prevention of the re-emergence of chemical weapons stands among the Organisation’s greatest future challenges.
His remarks further illustrated that the recent experiences drawn from OPCW activities in Syria and Iraq have equipped the Organisation with several new and innovative approaches. In particular, Ambassador Üzümcü highlighted that the activities of the Declaration Assessment Team, the Fact-Finding Missions, and the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism have contributed to set a “new operational paradigm” for the OPCW’s work.
He also underscored the value of partnerships to counter the development and use of chemical weapons by non-state actors.
“In recognition of the growing challenge of chemical terrorism, the OPCW’s cooperation with NATO and other international and regional organisations is essential to hinder the ambitions of non-state actors that may wish to develop and use chemical weapons,” the Director-General said.
The Twelfth Annual NATO Conference on WMD Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-proliferation took place from 9 to 10 May 2016 in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
During his visit to Ljubljana, the Director-General also met with Ms Darja Bavdaž Kuret, State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Miloš Bizjak, State Secretary, Ministry of Defence, and Mr Alojz Grabner, Director of the Chemicals Office of the Republic of Slovenia.
In his meetings with Slovene officials, the Director-General provided briefings on the latest developments regarding the OPCW’s activities in Syria, and further expressed his appreciation for Slovenia’s strong support for implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.
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