THE HAGUE, Netherlands – 1 December 2017 – South Sudan announced today that it “has all but concluded the process of joining the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)”. Upon joining the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), countries become Member States of the OPCW and enjoy the full benefits of the Convention.
H.E. Mr Moses M. Akol Ajawin, the Director General for International Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of South Sudan, while speaking on behalf of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, H.E. Mr Deng Alor Koul, delivered a statement to the Twenty-Second Session of the Conference of the States Parties (CSP) to the Chemical Weapons Convention taking place in The Hague.
Ambassador Akol Ajawin emphasised that “the images of victims of chemical weapons make us all the more appreciative of the goals and objectives of OPCW. As such, we, in South Sudan, would unreservedly like to associate ourselves with the noble goals and objectives of this great organisation”.
He further updated the CSP that the Council of Ministers of the Republic of South Sudan, acting on the recommendation of the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs (and based on the presentation made to it by the Minister of Defence and Veterans Affairs), resolved on 25 August 2017 to “approve membership in the OPCW”. He continued to state that the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; Cabinet Affairs; and the Defence and Veterans Affairs remain seized with the implementation. Ambassador Akol Ajawin concluded, “South Sudan has no reason to sit on the fence . . . and South Sudan looks forward to becoming the newest and youngest State Party”.
The Director-General of the OPCW, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, welcomed the anticipated accession of South Sudan to the Convention: “Today, we are one step closer to universal membership. I urge the other nations that have yet to join the Convention – Egypt, Israel and North Korea – to unite with the rest of the world in eliminating all chemical weapons forever.”
As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW oversees the global endeavour to permanently and verifiably eliminate chemical weapons. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1997 – and with its 192 States Parties – it is the most successful disarmament treaty eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction.
Over ninety-six 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.