07/10/2002
Press Release
SG/SM/8422



VIGILANCE, RENEWED COMMITMENT TO FULL IMPLEMENTATION OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS


CONVENTION 'MORE NECESSARY THAN EVER', SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS


Following is the message by Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the seventh session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention, delivered by Enrique Roman-Morey, Director, Geneva Branch, Department for Disarmament Affairs and Deputy Secretary-General, Conference on Disarmament, at The Hague on 7 October:


It gives me great pleasure to send my greetings to the seventh session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention.


This year marks the fifth anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention.  This session provides an opportunity for reflection in advance of the Convention’s first review conference, to be convened from 28 April to 9 May 2003.


Progress continues to be made in the destruction of declared chemical weapons and in the destruction and conversion of chemical weapons production facilities.  The Convention continues to be instrumental in prohibiting the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons, not least by the adherence of additional countries to it.  The Convention now has 146 States parties, and another 19 countries have signed.


Such progress notwithstanding, vigilance and a renewed commitment to the full implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention are more necessary than ever.  The terrorist acts of 11 September 2001 in the United States raised new alarms and awareness in all of us, as we imagined what would have happened had weapons of mass destruction been used.  We must continue to work towards the universality of the Convention, towards the total destruction of chemical weapons stockpiles, and for a world in which cooperation in the peaceful uses of chemistry is fostered.  Let me therefore urge those States that have not yet ratified or acceded to the Convention to do so without delay.


Let me also urge States parties to continue to extend their full cooperation to the work of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), not least by providing it with the necessary resources for its effective functioning.  I also wish to extend my strong support for the OPCW under the able leadership of Director-General Rogelio Pfirter.


In a world of complex challenges to international peace and security, the Chemical Weapons Convention has a unique and important role to play.  I wish you all a productive session as you discuss how best to fulfil that vital mandate.


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