OPCW Executive Council Meets to Address Alleged Use of Chemical Weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic

13 April 2017
A meeting of the OPCW Executive Council.

A meeting of the OPCW Executive Council.

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 13 April 2017 — On 4 April, reports emerged of the alleged use of chemical weapons in the Khan Sheikhun area of southern Idlib in the Syrian Arab Republic.

Today, the Chairperson of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Executive Council, Ambassador Odette Melono of Cameroon in consultation with the Director-General of the OPCW, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, convened a meeting of the Council to discuss these allegations.

The Director-General shared with the Executive Council the immediate steps taken by Technical Secretariat experts to analyse the available information and their preliminary assessment that this was a credible allegation. He also shared that the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission has focused its work to investigate the incident in Khan Sheikhun and that it has collected samples, which have been sent to OPCW Designated Laboratories for analysis. OPCW experts are currently analysing all information gathered from various sources. The Director-General reiterated his call for States Parties that are in a position to do so to share with the Secretariat any relevant information without delay and allow the FFM to complete its work within the next two to three weeks.

In closing, the Director-General expressed, “Our experts are fully aware of the significance of the task they are expected to fulfil and I am confident that they will do it in a professional and impartial manner using all available technical means”.

The Executive Council has suspended the meeting and decided to reconvene next week to continue discussions on the alleged incident.

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