THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 13 March 2018 — The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, congratulated the Government of Iraq on the completion of the destruction of the country’s chemical weapons remnants, during today’s visit of the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research of Iraq, H.E. Dr Abdulrazzaq Al Jaleel Essa.
“I welcome this notable achievement and congratulate the Iraqi Government for their efforts in ensuring the proper destruction of these dangerous chemicals and for fulfilling its obligations deriving from the Chemical Weapons Convention,” stated the Director-General.
Ambassador Üzümcü presented to the Minister a certificate recognising the Iraqi Government’s complete destruction of its chemical weapons remnants.
The Director-General further briefed Minister Al Jaleel Essa on the OPCW’s latest activities, including progress in the destruction of the declared former chemical weapons production facilities, the threat posed by non-State actors’ access to chemical weapons, and peaceful uses of chemistry.
Minister Al Jaleel Essa’s delegation included Iraq’s Permanent Representative to the OPCW, H.E. Dr Hisham Al-Alawi; the Head of the Al Muthana project, Mr Magid Shannoon Khalaf, Spokesperson to the Minister, Dr Hayder Mohammed Jebur; and Ms Kani Shareef, First Secretary, Permanent Representation of Iraq to the OPCW.
Iraq’s initial declaration, submitted in March 2009, referred to remnants of chemical weapons stored in two storage bunkers at the Al Muthana site. Owing to the hazardous conditions within the bunkers, Iraq was not able to conduct a detailed on-site inventory immediately after the initial declaration. Destruction activities started in 2017, once the on-going security situation had been addressed.
In November 2017 and February 2018, OPCW’s Technical Secretariat confirmed that the four former chemical weapons production facilities in Iraq were completely destroyed.
One former chemical weapons production facility in Iraq remains subject to inspection until 2028. In 2012, OPCW approved a detailed plan, submitted by Iraq, for this facility’s conversion for purposes not prohibited under the Chemical Weapons 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.
Over 96 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.