OPCW.org is changing. We are launching our new website soon! Preview the new OPCW.org

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

OPCW Member States Gain Advanced Knowledge on Declaration and Inspection Obligations

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 18 September 2018 — Representatives of 31 Member States of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) gained deeper understanding of the procedures concerning declarations and...18 September 2018Full story

H.E. Ms María Jesús Alonso Jiménez (Spain)

H.E. Ms María Jesús Alonso Jiménez, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Spain to the OPCW, presented her credentials to the Director-General on 17 September 2018.17 September 2018Full story

OPCW Deputy Director-General Emphasises Importance of Capacity-Building for Customs Officials during visit to Algeria

THE HAGUE, the Netherlands — 14 September 2018 — The Deputy Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Hamid Ali Rao, stressed the key role of customs authorities in stopping...14 September 2018Full story

Instructors from Latin America and the Caribbean Enhance Skills at Assistance and Protection Training Course

THE HAGUE, the Netherlands – 13 September 2018 – Emergency response trainers from Latin America and the Caribbean developed skills to train responders specialised in incidents involving chemical warfare agents and toxic...13 September 2018Full story

Denmark’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Visits OPCW

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 10 September 2018 — The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of the Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Fernando Arias, met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of...10 September 2018Full story

First Responders from Latin America Gain Skills in Emergency Response to Hazardous Chemicals

THE HAGUE, the Netherlands — 7 September 2018 — First Responders from Latin America acquired essential knowledge on responding to emergencies involving hazardous chemicals after an Exercise on Assistance and Protection against...07 September 2018Full story

H.E. Ms Tatiana Pârvu (Moldova)

H.E. Ms Tatiana Pârvu, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Moldova to the OPCW, presented her credentials to the Director-General on 6 September 2018.06 September 2018Full story

OPCW Issues Report on Technical Assistance Requested by the United Kingdom Regarding Toxic Chemical Incident in Amesbury

THE HAGUE, Netherlands—4 September 2018— The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) transmitted today to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) the report of the OPCW’s mission to...04 September 2018Full story

Defence Minister of Japan Visits OPCW

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 4 September 2018 — The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Fernando Arias, and the Minister of Defence of Japan, Mr Itsunori Onodera, met today...04 September 2018Full story

H.E. Ms Marlene Bonnici (Malta)

H.E. Ms Marlene Bonnici, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Malta to the OPCW, presented her credentials to the Director-General on 31 August 2018.31 August 2018Full story

Displaying 1 to 10 of 1955
<< First < Previous 1-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 Next > Last >>