U.N. Chief Presses Holdout Nations to Join Chemical Weapons Convention

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday renewed his call for full global membership in the accord that prohibits the production, stockpiling or use of chemical weapons (see GSN, April 30, 2010).

Israel and Myanmar have signed but not ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention, while Angola, Egypt, North Korea, Somalia, Syria and the recently formed South Sudan have not taken any formal move toward membership.

"This year marks the 15th anniversary of the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Today, with 188 states parties representing 98 percent of the world’s population, the convention is standing strong," Ban said in a prepared statement issued ahead of the Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Weapons next Monday. "I call on the eight states remaining outside the convention to join at the earliest possible date.  There is no excuse for delays in ridding our planet of these instruments of suffering and death."

He added: "Through strong provisions, the convention provides an effective international regime to verify the destruction of all chemical weapons stockpiles and to prevent their re-emergence.  This will reduce the threat of chemical weapons terrorism and strengthen the work of the United Nations to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction by terrorists."

Monday is also the deadline for all CWC member states to eliminate prohibited stockpiles of chemical warfare materials such as mustard blister agent and the nerve agents sarin and VX. Libya, Russia and the United States have all acknowledged they will breach that schedule, with work on the U.S. and Russian stores expected to continue for years (see GSN, April 18 and April 24) . The nations by Monday must deliver detailed plans for their demilitarization programs, including anticipated completion dates. They also must meet heightened transparency and reporting requirements as long as disposal efforts continue.

"The extended deadline for states parties to complete the destruction of chemical weapons is 29 April.  Almost three quarters of all declared stockpiles have been destroyed," Ban noted.  I welcome efforts by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to ensure that all chemical weapons are destroyed as soon as possible."

"OPCW is also continuously monitoring the chemical industry in an effort to prevent the re-emergence of chemical weapons.  So far, the Organization has conducted 2200 inspections in 82 countries," according to the secretary general (United Nations release, April 24).

April 25, 2012
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U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday renewed his call for full global membership in the accord that prohibits the production, stockpiling or use of chemical weapons.