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

OPCW Fact-Finding Mission Team Visits Douma, Syria

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 21 April 2018 —The Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) team of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) visited one of the sites in Douma, Syrian Arab Republic today to collect samples for...21 April 2018Full story

First Responders from Asia Enhance Chemical Emergency Response Capabilities

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 20 April 2018 — First Responders from Asia enhanced their capabilities in emergency response to chemical incidents during a regional basic training course held in Kathmandu, Nepal from 9-13 April. The...20 April 2018Full story

Experts from Asia Share Best Practices on Chemical Safety and Security Management

THE HAGUE, Netherlands – 20 April 2018 – Experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Asian Member States shared their knowledge and fortified their skills in a Workshop on Needs Assessment and...20 April 2018Full story

OPCW Helps Build Capacity of National Authorities for Effective Implementation of Chemical Weapons Convention

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 20 April 2018 — Representatives of National Authorities and other institutions improved their knowledge and capacity to work together to implement the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), during a training...20 April 2018Full story

Media Alert: Update on the Deployment of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission to Douma, Syria

Update by the Director-General on the Deployment of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission to Douma, Syrian Arab Republic, to the Executive Council at its Fifty-Ninth Meeting. On Monday, I advised the Council on the work being undertaken...18 April 2018Full story

Media Alert: OPCW's Director-General's Update to the 59th Executive Council Meeting on Salisbury Incident

The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, updated the OPCW Executive Council about the Salisbury incident at its 59th meeting. On 4 April I updated the...18 April 2018Full story

Brunei Moves Closer to Enacting National Legislation on the Chemical Weapons Convention

THE HAGUE, Netherlands - 17 April 2018 – Brunei Darussalam made further progress in its implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) by creating a plan to establish a National Authority and draft implementing...17 April 2018Full story

OPCW Director-General’s Statement on the 58th Executive Council Meeting on Syria

The OPCW Executive Council met today to discuss the allegations about the use of chemical weapons in Douma, Syrian Arab Republic on Saturday 7 April 2018. The Director-General welcomes that all Delegations that took the floor...16 April 2018Full story

OPCW Fact-Finding Mission Continues Deployment to Syria

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 14 April 2018 — The Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) team of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will continue its deployment to the Syrian Arab Republic to establish facts around...14 April 2018Full story

OPCW Issues Report on Technical Assistance Requested by the United Kingdom

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 12 April 2018 — The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) transmitted yesterday to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) the report of the OPCW’s mission to...12 April 2018Full story

Displaying 1 to 10 of 1892
<< First < Previous 1-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 Next > Last >>