THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 22 February 2018 — The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, met with the Austrian Federal Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, Dr Karin Kneissl, and delivered a speech at the Foreign Policy and United Nations Association of Austria during a visit to Vienna on 21 February.
The Director-General briefed the Minister on the achievements in the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, including OPCW’s activities in the Syrian Arab Republic, and highlighted the continued relevance of the OPCW in an evolving security environment.
Minister Kneissl reaffirmed Austria’s unwavering commitment to chemical disarmament and non-proliferation, and acknowledged the key role of the OPCW in reaching that goal.
At the Association, discussions are moderated by former Chancellor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Austria, Dr Wolfgang Schüssel.
Ambassador Üzümcü, in his speech covering the past and future challenges to the Chemical Weapons Convention, stated that, “the world is a safer place because of the work carried out by the OPCW and its States Parties under the Convention”.
However, the Director-General cautioned against complacency and indicated some of the challenges of the current security environment. “Recent events in Syria and other countries have demonstrated that the international norm against chemical weapons is not immune from erosion. We must be mindful of these pressures and vigilant against those who actively seek to undermine international peace and security,” he stated.
Austria joined the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1997 and has been an active supporter of the Convention and OPCW’s activities throughout the years.
The Foreign Policy and United Nations Association of Austria (ÖGAVN) is an independent, non-partisan and non-profit association whose mission is to inform the Austrian public about the issues in the realm of Austrian foreign policy, as well as European and international issues. The Association also assists in linking the United Nations with the Austrian Foreign Ministry and the international organisations based in Austria.
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.
Over 96% 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.