THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 1 November 2018 — The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), H.E. Mr Fernando Arias, met with the French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, H.E. Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian as well other senior government officials and think tank representatives during a visit to Paris on 31 October.
During his meeting with Minister Le Drian, the Director-General underlined France’s important role in reinforcing the norm against chemical weapons, and encouraged the continuation of international efforts to advance the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). He stated: “The full and universal implementation of the Convention, as well as cooperation between OPCW Member States constitute the best safeguards to prevent the re-emergence of chemical weapons. We are grateful for France’s dedication, support, and forward-looking initiatives in this area.”
While speaking with Secretary General of the Secretariat-General for National Defence and Security, Ms Claire Landais, the Director-General re-iterated that “the elimination of chemical weapons, an entire class of weapons of mass destruction, requires a multilateral, multi-faceted approach that each and every State Party must seek to nurture domestically and promote externally”.
During separate meetings with other senior officials, the Director-General briefed them on the progress and challenges related to the implementation of the CWC, including the June decision to address the threat from chemical weapons use, as well as approaches to and potential outcomes of the upcoming Fourth Review Conference of the States Parties.
The Director-General’s interlocutors included: Diplomatic Advisor to the President, Mr Philippe Etienne; Director of Political Affairs at the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Mr Nicolas de Riviere; Director of Strategic Affairs at the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Mr Nicolas Roche; and Deputy Director General for International Relations and Strategy of the Ministry of the Armed Forces, Vice-Admiral Hervé de Bonnaventure.
Additionally, the Director-General met with the Deputy Director of the Foundation for Strategic Research, Mr Bruno Tertrais, and other staff.
France joined the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1997. France is a member of the Executive Council, the OPCW’s executive organ, which is charged with promoting the effective implementation of and compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention as well as supervising the activities of the Organisation’s Technical Secretariat.
As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW, with its 193 Member States, oversees the global endeavour to permanently eliminate chemical weapons. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1997, 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 Peace Prize.