THE HAGUE, Netherlands – 29 September 2021 – Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Colombia, H.E. Ms Marta Lucía Ramírez de Rincón, met yesterday with the Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), H.E. Mr Fernando Arias, at OPCW Headquarters in The Hague.
The Vice President and the Director-General discussed a range of issues related to the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and discussed initiatives in the fields of national implementation, international cooperation, and assistance and protection. The Director-General briefed H.E. Ramirez de Rincón on the ongoing construction of the ChemTech Centre, emphasising the new facility’s upgraded laboratory, capacity building and logistics facilities, and role in ensuring chemistry is used exclusively for the benefit of humankind.
The Vice President remarked: “Colombia has assumed its commitment to the chemical weapons regime as part of a global strategy that seeks their total elimination. We support and co-sponsor different initiatives and proposals discussed within the framework of the Organisation. As an example, over the last five years Colombia has hosted different regional courses in which 135 officials from 17 countries of the region have been trained in matters related to the response to chemical incidents and emergencies. We will continue working against chemical weapons and cooperating with the international community to confront risks to humanity.” The Vice President added: “In Colombia, the Chemical Weapons Convention entered into force in 2000 and it is included in Article 81 of Colombia’s National Constitution.”
Director-General Arias stated: “I highly appreciate that the Colombian Vice President was able to visit the OPCW today, and grateful for the opportunity to thank her personally for Colombia’s ongoing support for the goals of the Chemical Weapons Convention. I look forward to advancing our cooperation to ensure that the complete ban on chemical weapons is fully implemented and all Member States reap the rewards of peaceful cooperation in the field of chemistry.”
Colombia has been an active member of the OPCW since 2000.
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.