France Contributes USD 1M to OPCW’s Trust Fund for Syria Missions

20 January 2020
OPCW Director-General, H.E. Mr Fernando Arias, and the Permanent Representative of France to the OPCW, H.E. Ambassador Luis Vassy

THE HAGUE, Netherlands – 20 January 2020 – The Government of France is contributing USD 1M toward supporting the activities of the Trust Fund for Syria Missions at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which includes the work of the Declaration Assessment Team (DAT), the Fact-Finding Mission (FFM), and the Investigation and Identification Team (IIT).

The Fund supports the Organisation’s special missions and contingency operations related specifically to the Syrian Arab Republic. The French contribution aims to equip the OPCW with the means to maintain its professional and impartial standards in addressing the threat from chemical weapons use.

OPCW Director-General, H.E. Mr Fernando Arias, and the Permanent Representative of France to the OPCW, H.E. Ambassador Luis Vassy

The voluntary contribution was announced in November 2019, when the French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, H.E. Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, visited the OPCW. It was formalised with an agreement signed on 20 January by the Director-General of the OPCW, H.E. Mr Fernando Arias, and the Permanent Representative of France to the OPCW, H.E. Ambassador Luis Vassy, at the Organisation’s headquarters in The Hague.

The Director-General expressed his gratitude for France’s unwavering support, and remarked: “France has long been a central partner in the global disarmament regime and a determined supporter of the Chemical Weapons Convention. This kind of resolve is as vital as ever to ensuring that the OPCW can fulfil its mandate.”

Ambassador Vassy emphasised France’s continuous commitment to supporting the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and further advances in the eradication of chemical weapons. He stated: “France stands by the OPCW since the beginning of the Syrian chemical crisis in 2013, through its political and financial support. This voluntary contribution illustrates once more our commitment to putting an end to the use of chemical weapons in Syria by throwing light on Syria’s initial declaration as well as on the allegations of use and on the identification of the perpetrators of such attacks. France reiterates its confidence in the OPCW’s professional, impartial and independent work.” 

Background

France has been an active member of the OPCW since the Chemical Weapons Convention entered into force 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.

The Investigation and Identification Team (IIT) is mandated to identify the perpetrators of the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic. The IIT was launched following a decision adopted by the Conference of the States Parties to the CWC at its Fourth Special Session held in June 2018.

The OPCW Fact Finding Mission was set up in 2014 in response to persistent allegations of chemical weapon attacks in Syria, with the task to establish facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals, reportedly chlorine, for hostile purposes.

Established in the same year, the Declaration Assessment Team engages the relevant Syrian authorities to resolve the identified gaps, inconsistencies and discrepancies in the Syrian declaration.

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 97% 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.

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