THE HAGUE, Netherlands—18 May 2023—The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Fernando Arias, met with the Vice Minister for Multilateral Affairs and Integration of Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry, H.E. Mr Ruben Dario Molina, on the sidelines of the Fifth Review Conference (RC-5) taking place from 15 to 19 May in The Hague.
During the meeting, the Director-General and the Vice Minister discussed a range of issues related to the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention. They both underscored the importance of international cooperation and capacity building in chemical emergency preparedness for strengthening chemical safety and security in Member States. The Director-General emphasised that the OPCW Centre for Chemistry and Technology (ChemTech Centre), which was inaugurated on 12 May in the presence of His Majesty King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, will enhance the Organisation’s capacity to deliver training activities for Member States and strengthen local capabilities to respond to chemical incidents.
“Enhancing capacity building for Member States is essential for the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention. The advanced training facility of the ChemTech Centre will bolster national and regional emergency response capabilities against chemical incidents,” the Director-General said.
“Activities at the Centre underpin the role of the Organisation as the world’s leading repository of chemical weapons related skills, expertise, and knowledge, addressing chemical threats worldwide,” he added.
The Director-General and the Vice Minister concluded the meeting with a discussion on the importance of RC-5 for the successful implementation of the Convention and the role of multilateralism in addressing contemporary challenges in chemical disarmament and non-proliferation.
“The Venezuelan delegation would like to highlight that international cooperation, real multilateralism and unconditional technical assistance and support, are all highly incompatible with the arbitrary application of criminal, unilateral coercive measures, as well as the enforcement of an illegal blockade that are all actions in clear and flagrant violation of the United Nations Charter, the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and international law in general,” the Vice Minister said.
The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has been an active member of the OPCW since the Chemical Weapons Convention entered into force in 1997.
The ChemTech Centre is a major investment funded entirely through voluntary contributions from 57 countries, the European Union and other donors totalling more than €34M. Construction of the Centre began in June 2021 and the facility was officially accepted by the OPCW on 27 January 2023. The Centre was inaugurated on 12 May 2023 in the presence of His Majesty King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands.
The ChemTech Centre will enhance the OPCW’s ability to conduct chemical research and analysis. This will significantly reinforce its verification regime and inspection capabilities of chemical industries around the world. In addition, an increasing number of capacity development activities will be delivered through the Centre, including chemical emergency response trainings and analytical skills development courses for experts from Member States.
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.
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