THE HAGUE, Netherlands–10 May 2021–The Government of France is contributing €1M toward supporting the activities of the Trust Fund for Syria Missions at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
The Fund supports the Organisation’s special missions and contingency operations related specifically to the Syrian Arab Republic. France’s new contribution aims to assist in full elimination of the Syrian Chemical Weapons Programme and clarification of facts related to the alleged use of chemical weapons, in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention and relevant decisions of the policy-making organs of the OPCW. The contribution will support the work of the Declaration Assessment Team (DAT) and the Fact-Finding Mission (FFM).
The voluntary contribution was formalised on 7 May by the Permanent Representative of the French Republic to the OPCW, H.E. Ambassador Luis Vassy, and OPCW Director-General, H.E. Mr Fernando Arias, at the Organisation’s headquarters in The Hague.
Ambassador Vassy remarked: “I am really pleased to make this year a further significant contribution to the activities of the OPCW in Syria in order to enable its mechanisms to pursue independently their investigations. It is in line with France’s steadfast determination to put an end to the threat of chemical weapons in Syria, which is fundamentally unacceptable – as the Conference of State Parties recently reaffirmed in adopting the decision tabled by my delegation on behalf of 46 countries.”
The Director-General expressed his gratitude to the Government of France and noted: “This contribution will help the OPCW to continue its vital work in Syria where both the DAT and FFM face a host of issues that require a coordinated international response to ensure that the norms and principles of the Chemical Weapons Convention are upheld.”
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 Declaration Assessment Team was established in 2014 to engage the relevant Syrian authorities to resolve the identified gaps, inconsistencies and discrepancies in the Syrian declaration.
The OPCW Fact Finding Mission was set up in the same year 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.
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 98% of all declared chemical weapon stockpiles have been destroyed under OPCW verification. For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.