|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR DESTRUCTION OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS STOCKPILES IN MESSAGE
MARKING TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF CONVENTION’S ENTRY INTO FORCE
Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message on the tenth anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and of Their Destruction (Chemical Weapons Convention), observed on 29 April:
The entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention on 29 April 1997 was a milestone in the international community’s efforts to rid the world of chemical weapons. Since coming into effect, the Convention has contributed to steady progress in the destruction of declared chemical weapons stockpiles. Membership in the Convention has increased to 182 States parties, covering 98 per cent of the world’s population. And the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, established by the Convention to facilitate implementation of its provisions, has made important gains in eliminating from the world an entire category of weapons of mass destruction.
The world has come a long way since the first large-scale use of chemical weapons during the First World War, which inflicted unspeakable horror on its victims. However, a lot remains to be done. To date, more than 25 per cent of the States parties’ declared chemical weapons stockpiles have been eliminated under international verification. That slower-than-anticipated rate of progress led the Conference of the States Parties, last December, to extend the final date for the destruction of declared stockpiles. I call upon all possessor States to destroy their chemical weapons stockpiles according to the agreed deadlines. I also urge all Governments that have not yet done so to ratify or accede to the Convention without delay.
On this important anniversary, which is also the Remembrance Day for Victims of Chemical Warfare, let us reaffirm our commitment to building a world free of chemical weapons. Let us honour the victims of chemical warfare and redouble our efforts to ensuring that no life on earth will be lost ever again due to the use of chemical weapons.
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