OPCW Director-General Shares Incontrovertible Laboratory Results Concluding Exposure to Sarin

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

A meeting of the OPCW Executive Council.

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 19 April 2017 — The Executive Council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) reconvened today to further address the allegation of chemical weapons use in the Khan Sheikhun area of southern Idlib in the Syrian Arab Republic. OPCW’s Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü updated Council members on recent developments regarding the OPCW Technical Secretariat’s activities.

Ambassador Üzümcü underscored that the Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) continues its work using procedures and methodologies consistent with its mission and reaffirmed that the FFM has been endorsed by the relevant decisions of the Executive Council and applicable resolutions of the UN Security Council. He reiterated his full confidence in the professionalism and impartiality of colleagues comprising the Fact-Finding Mission teams.

The bio-medical samples collected from three victims during their autopsy were analysed at two OPCW designated laboratories. The results of the analysis indicate that the victims were exposed to Sarin or a Sarin-like substance. Bio-medical samples from seven individuals undergoing treatment at hospitals were also analysed in two other OPCW designated laboratories. Similarly, the results of these analyses indicate exposure to Sarin or a Sarin-like substance.

Director-General Üzümcü stated clearly: “The results of these analyses from four OPCW designated laboratories indicate exposure to Sarin or a Sarin-like substance. While further details of the laboratory analyses will follow, the analytical results already obtained are incontrovertible.”

In the meantime, the Fact-Finding Mission is continuing with interviews, evidence management and sample acquisition. The Director-General reported that an FFM team is ready to deploy to Khan Sheikhun should the security situation permit. He reminded the Executive Council of the 27 May 2014 attack on an FFM team and the action the Council subsequently took in emphasising the importance of safety and security of OPCW experts deployed to Syria.

The FFM is still anticipated to complete a first report of its findings to be submitted to States Parties of the Chemical Weapons Convention within two weeks and the Director-General will make the report available to the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism.

Ambassador Üzümcü repeated his request for the continued support of all States Parties, including through the provision of relevant information, to ensure that the Technical Secretariat is able to pursue its work, and to allow it to fulfil the OPCW mission within a reasonable time frame.

The Executive Council decided to reconvene tomorrow, 20 April, to vote on a draft decision under discussion.

Background

The OPCW Fact-Finding Mission initiated its work on 5 April 2017 after the Technical Secretariat’s preliminary assessment that the 4 April incident was a credible allegation.  The FFM is led by, and predominately comprised of, experienced and impartial inspectors with support from experts from various units across the Technical Secretariat.

OPCW Designated Laboratories
The OPCW has been organising and conducting Official Proficiency Tests since 1996. Under the provisions of the CWC, the purpose of these tests is to certify laboratories for the analysis of authentic samples. As a result of efforts by the OPCW and States Parties spanning many years, it became possible to build-up an open-ended network of OPCW Designated Laboratories.

OPCW Designated Laboratories are a lynchpin of the Organisation’s verification regime and its capacity to investigate possible violations of the Convention. They must be able to perform off-site analysis of chemical samples collected by OPCW inspectors from chemical production facilities, storage depots and other installations, or from the site of an alleged use of chemical weapons, and provide forensic proof if a violation of the Convention has occurred. These laboratories offer the necessary assurance to our States Parties that chemical analyses needed to make determinations or to clarify issues occurring during OPCW inspections are carried out competently and with unambiguous results.

The Proficiency Tests are conducted on a twice-yearly basis and are open to all interested laboratories from OPCW Member States. Applicants need to achieve high scores on three consecutive tests to be awarded the status of Designated Laboratory. There are currently 18 OPCW Designated Laboratories in Europe, Asia and the United States of America.

More Information

Media Inquiries

OPCW Public Affairs
Johan de Wittlaan 32, 2517 JR
The Hague, The Netherlands
+ 31 70 416 32 42
public.affairs@opcw.org
www.opcw.org

Follow OPCW on:

Twitter: www.twitter.com/opcw
Facebook: www.facebook.com/opcwonline
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/opcw
YouTube: www.youtube.com/opcwonline


Categories: Executive Council, 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 >>