THE HAGUE, Netherlands—17 October 2022—The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Fernando Arias, visited the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from 11 to 13 October 2022.
In London, the Director-General met with the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs (FCDO), H.E. The Rt Hon Mr James Cleverly MP. Director-General Arias briefed the Secretary of State on the status of the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). They also exchanged views on how to address the re-emergence of the chemical weapons in the current international security situation. The Director-General briefed the Secretary of State on the OPCW Centre for Chemistry and Technology (ChemTech Centre), which will become operational next year.
The Director-General commended the United Kingdom for its sustained support for the OPCW, stating: “the ChemTech Centre will become an essential tool for the OPCW and its Member States to strengthen capacity to better implement the CWC. I thank the United Kingdom for its steadfast and profound support to the Centre, which demonstrates its commitment to promoting and defending the global norm against chemical weapons.”
The Director-General also met with H.E. Baroness Goldie DL, Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence and H.E. Mr Leo Docherty, Minister of State at the FCDO respectively.
The officials exchanged views on the preparation ahead of the OPCW’s Fifth Review Conference of the States Parties, which will be heled in May 2023.
The Director-General also met with Mr Thomas Drew CMG, Director General for Defence and Intelligence at the FCDO; and other senior officials from the UK.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has been an active member of the OPCW since the Chemical Weapons Convention entered into force in 1997. The United Kingdom 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 99% 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.