THE HAGUE, Netherlands—12 July 2023—The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Fernando Arias, and Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security of the United States (U.S.), Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins, met on 10 July 2023 at the Organisation’s Headquarters in The Hague.
“The United States completed the destruction of our chemical weapons stockpile in accordance with our obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention. It’s a historic moment not only for the United States but also for the global community. As we mark this moment, we must also acknowledge that our job, as a global community, is not done. The threat of chemical weapons development, use and possession still exists and the job of the OPCW is as important as ever. With our active engagement and significant financial support, the United States will continue to support the OPCW,” Ambassador Jenkins said.
“I congratulate the United States on completing the destruction of its declared chemical weapons stockpile on 7 July. This is a moment of historic importance for the United States and the international community,” the Director-General said during the meeting. “I commend the United States’ responsible work and long-standing commitment to fulfil its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention.”
During the meeting, U.S. voluntary contributions to two OPCW trust funds were formalised in a signing ceremony. The amount of €183,400 will be allocated to the Trust Fund for Syria Missions. This contribution will be used towards the full elimination of the Syrian Chemical Weapons Programme as well as establishing facts surrounding the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria, in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention and relevant decisions of the policy-making organs of the OPCW and resolutions of the United Nations Security Council.
The amount of €124,000 will be allocated to the OPCW Trust Fund for Junior Professional Officers (JPO) and will be used to support a JPO from a developing country in an underrepresented region to get experience working at the Technical Secretariat.
“The end of destruction of all chemical weapons stockpiles represents a historic success of multilateralism in the field of disarmament, and the work of a generation of diplomats and experts over the past 26 years. Yet, more challenges lie ahead of us. Addressing the use and threats of use of toxic chemicals as weapons will remain a priority for the Organisation,” the Director-General said. “I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the United States for its continuous financial and political support to the OPCW’s mission to permanently eradicate chemical weapons.”
The United States was the last possessor State and completed the destruction of its declared chemical weapons stockpile on 7 July 2023. The OPCW observed the destruction of the chemical weapons stockpiles declared by all State Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention and confirmed on 7 July 2023 that all declared chemical weapons stockpiles are verified as irreversibly destroyed.
The OPCW will continue to monitor the closure of the last two destruction facilities at Pueblo and Blue Grass in the U.S., including the disposal of waste resulting from the destruction process.
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.
Since the Convention entered into force in 1997, the OPCW has verified the destruction of 72,304.34 metric tonnes of stockpiled chemical weapons, declared by countries around the world. For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.