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

Experts Discuss Role of OPCW in Green and Sustainable Chemistry

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 24 November 2017 — Participants of the Green and Sustainable Chemistry workshop, hosted by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague from 16-17 November, developed...24 November 2017Full story

H.E. Ms Sophia Horner-Sam (Ghana)

H.E. Ms Sophia Horner-Sam, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Ghana to the OPCW, presented her credentials to the Director-General on 24 November, 2017.24 November 2017Full story

OPCW Training Enhances States Parties’ Chemical Response and Protection Capabilities

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 24 November 2017 – The emergency response and protection capabilities of nine States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) received a substantial boost as a new cluster of first responders...24 November 2017Full story

OPCW Partners Discuss Approaches towards Effective CWC Implementation in Africa

THE HAGUE, Netherlands – 22 November – Representatives of partner organisations of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and Africa’s Regional Economic Communities (RECs) discussed the coordination of...22 November 2017Full story

H.E Dr Mohammad Homayoon Azizi ( Islamic Republic of Afghanistan)

H.E. Dr Mohammad Homayoon Azizi, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the OPCW, presented his credentials to the Director-General on 22 November, 2017.22 November 2017Full story

Legal Drafters and National Authority Representatives Improve Legislation Drafting Skills for Implementation of Chemical Weapons Convention

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 21 November 2017 — Representatives from Sierra Leone and Suriname acquired new skills on drafting national legislation for the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), during the 18th...21 November 2017Full story

States Parties in Asia Discuss Roadmaps towards Adoption of CWC Implementing Legislation

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 17 November 2017 — States Parties from Asia gathered to carve a path towards the adoption of national legislation regarding chemical weapons during the forum held in The Hague from 13 to 15...17 November 2017Full story

OPCW Holds Conference on Evolution and Future of the Chemical Weapons Convention

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 16 November 2017 — More than 100 participants gathered for a conference on, “The Chemical Weapons Convention in 2017: What are the Boundaries to its Future Evolution?”, held at the Organisation for the...16 November 2017Full story

H.E. Mr Agustín Vásquez Gómez (El Salvador)

H.E. Mr Agustín Vásquez Gómez, Permanent Representative of the Republic of El Salvador to the OPCW, presented his credentials to the Director-General on 14 November, 2017.14 November 2017Full story

OPCW Director-General Honours WWI Chemical Weapons Victims in Ieper, Belgium

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 13 November 2017 — The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, called for honouring the memory of those who perished at battlefields...13 November 2017Full story

Displaying 1 to 10 of 1846
<< First < Previous 1-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 Next > Last >>