The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, met with Finland’s Secretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Mr Peter Stenlund, at OPCW Headquarters in The Hague today.
Mr Stenlund and the Director-General discussed the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), including destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons and the recent mission to remove Libya’s remaining chemical weapons for destruction outside of its territory. Ambassador Üzümcü provided an overview of the future priorities of the Organisation including the increasing focus placed on countering the use of chemical weapons by non-state actors.
“I am grateful for Finland’s unflinching support for the OPCW. Finland’s contributions to the missions to remove and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons programme and the final remnants of Libya’s former chemical weapons programme again demonstrates Finland’s strong support for the CWC. Similarly, the efforts of Finnish Institute for Verification of the Chemical Weapons Convention (VERIFIN) to train chemists across the globe demonstrates sustained commitment to ensuring peaceful uses of chemistry for all,” expressed the Director-General.
Secretary of State Stenlund remarked: “We are happy about the excellent cooperation Finland has with the OPCW. For Finland, supporting the CWC and its full implementation are matters of great importance. Finland has been an active member of the OPCW and has, for example, contributed to the operations to remove chemical weapons out of Syria and Libya.”
“Our national authority, VERIFIN, has also played an active role, having trained close to 1300 chemists from over 130 developing countries. Finland will continue to play an important role as a vocal promoter of the CWC in the future,” Mr Stenlund concluded.
Finland joined the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1995.
In 2014, VERIFIN was awarded The OPCW-The Hague Award in recognition of its outstanding leadership in the development of advanced verification methods for use in the detection and identification of chemical weapons and their components.
The Chemical Weapons Convention comprehensively prohibits the use, development, production, storage and transfer of chemical weapons. Any chemical used for warfare is considered a chemical weapon by the Convention.
As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW oversees the global endeavour to permanently eliminate chemical weapons. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1997 — with its 192 States Parties — it is the most successful disarmament treaty eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction.
To date, nearly 93 per cent of all chemical weapon stockpiles declared by possessor states have been destroyed under OPCW verification. For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Prize for Peace.
For more information
OPCW Fact Sheets: https://www.opcw.org//documents-reports/fact-sheets