Announcement to media on last consignment of chemicals leaving Syria

Monday, 23 June 2014

Ahmet Üzümcü, Director-General OPCW

Statement by Ahmet Üzümcü, Director-General OPCW

Just under 9 months ago in October, I addressed you members of the press - in this same place, here in The Hague - to announce the deployment of the first OPCW inspectors to Syria to begin an historic and unprecedented mission. The mission was to destroy the chemical weapons programme of the Syrian Arab Republic.

A major landmark in this mission has been reached today. The last of the remaining chemicals identified for removal from Syria were loaded this afternoon aboard the Danish ship Ark Futura. The ship made its last call at the port of Latakia in what has been a long and patient campaign in support of this international endeavour.

Removing the stockpile of precursor and other chemicals has been a fundamental condition in the programme to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons programme.

The next stage in this mission is the completion of the maritime operations to deliver the chemicals for destruction at the assigned facility on board the U.S. vessel Cape Ray and at commercial facilities in Finland, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

The mission to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons programme has been a major undertaking marked by an extraordinary international cooperation.

Never before has an entire arsenal of a category of weapons of mass destruction been removed from a country experiencing a state of internal armed conflict. And this has been accomplished within very demanding and tight timeframes.

The mission has seen over 30 countries and European Union committing significant financial and in-kind assistance. This cooperation covered key logistical and transportation requirements, including a complex maritime operation. The collaboration with Member States relating to destruction activities and the provision of equipment and industrial facilities for this purpose is unprecedented in the history of disarmament. I wish to express our profound gratitude to all these States Parties. 

This collective endeavour was born here, in The Hague, of a treaty that has more than demonstrated its resilience and responsiveness. Following the Framework Agreement concluded between the Russian Federation and the United States of America, the OPCW was called upon to devise and implement an elaborate programme. Various milestones and interlocking steps for a sequenced elimination and verification were established.

The Executive Council of the OPCW supported by the Secretariat remained fully engaged in its oversight of the implementation of the programme. Some eighteen meetings of the Executive Council have so far taken place at OPCW Headquarters, with numerous rounds of informal meetings and technical consultations in the background.

There were expected and unexpected challenges along the way. But the OPCW and member states have been able to overcome them – both through careful diplomacy and innovative technical solutions.

Although there were delays in the process, the cooperation of the Syrian Arab Republic has been commensurate with the requirements of the decisions.

And, crucially, we were able to count on the invaluable cooperation of the United Nations to provide logistical and security support for our verification effort in Syria through the OPCW-UN Joint Mission.

I take this opportunity to commend the Special Coordinator of the OPCW-UN Joint Mission, Ms Sigrid Kaag, and all those OPCW and UN staff who have participated in this mission. Their dedication and professionalism, in challenging circumstances, have been a key factor in the attainment of the critical progress that we recognise today.

While a major chapter in our endeavours closes today, OPCW’s work in Syria will continue. We hope to conclude soon the clarification of certain aspects of the Syrian declaration and commence the destruction of certain structures that were used as chemical weapons production facilities. Syria’s cooperation with the work of the OPCW Fact Finding Mission will also remain important. The OPCW will continue to engage with Syria to ensure that it is able to fulfil all its obligations under the CWC and the relevant decisions of the Executive Council and UN Security Council resolution 2118 (2013).



Categories: Director-General, OPCW and the UN, Syria

For further information, please contact OPCW Public Affairs. +31 (0) 70 416 3242, public.affairs@opcw.org | ORGANISATION FOR THE PROHIBITION OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS, Johan de Wittlaan 32, 2517 JR The Hague, The Netherlands

Follow OPCW on Facebook and Twitter.

More news

Latin American and Caribbean Industry Professionals Boost Skills on Chemical Disaster Risk Management

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 4 August 2017 — Chemistry professionals from Latin America and the Caribbean are better equipped to implement the industry-related provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) after a seminar on...04 August 2017Full story

H.E. Ms Christine Weil (Germany)

H.E. Ms Christine Weil, Permanent Representative of Germany to the OPCW, presented her credentials to the Director-General on 2 August 2017.02 August 2017Full story

OPCW Launches 18th Edition of Associate Programme

THE HAGUE, Netherlands – 28 July 2017 – The 18th edition of the Associate Programme, a flagship capacity-building programme of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), commenced today at the Organisation’s...28 July 2017Full story

OPCW Director-General Calls for Ethics to Keep Pace with Technological Progress During Visit to Indonesia

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 28 July 2017 — The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü visited Indonesia on 27 and 28 July where he met with Minister of Foreign...28 July 2017Full story

National Authorities from Africa Review Implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and Region’s Needs

THE HAGUE, Netherlands – 27 July – Representatives of National Authorities from African States Parties convened at the 15th Regional Meeting in Banjul, The Gambia from 18 to 20 July, to review the achievements, explore the...27 July 2017Full story

OPCW Director-General Calls for Ethics in Science During Visit to Australia

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 26 July 2017 — The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, visited Australia on 24 and 25 July. In Canberra, he met with the Secretary...26 July 2017Full story

H.E. Mr Jassim Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al-Thani (Qatar)

H.E. Mr Jassim Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al-Thani, Permanent Representative of Qatar to the OPCW, presented his credentials to the Director-General on 20 July 2017.20 July 2017Full story

Laboratories in Latin America and Spain Increase Analytical Capacity of Substances Relevant to Chemical Weapons Convention

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 13 July 2017 — Analytical chemists from Latin America, the Caribbean and Spain advanced their skills in the analysis of chemicals controlled under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), at a course...13 July 2017Full story

First Responders from Asia Acquire Keystone Skills in Assistance and Protection against Chemical Weapons

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 10 July 2017 — First responders from Asian countries acquired fundamental knowledge on emergency assistance and protection against chemical weapons at an Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical...10 July 2017Full story

Medical Professionals Acquire Skills in Assistance for Victims of Chemical Emergencies

THE HAGUE, Netherlands – 7 July 2017 – Medical first responders from around the world are better equipped to successfully handle emergency medical assistance for victims of chemical incidents and attacks after a training held in...07 July 2017Full story

Displaying 1 to 10 of 1789
<< First < Previous 1-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 Next > Last >>