28 November 2011
Secretary-General
SG/SM/13974
DC/3316

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

‘We Cannot Rest Until We Destroy All Chemical Arms’, Secretary-General


Tells Meeting of States Parties to Chemical Weapons Convention


Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message delivered to the sixteenth session of the Conference of States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention, delivered by Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, in The Hague, 28 November:


As the International Year of Chemistry comes to a close, your Conference can add meaning to our commemorations by carrying forward work on the Chemical Weapons Convention, one of the greatest achievements in the history of multilateral efforts to achieve disarmament and non-proliferation.


By ensuring the destruction of these deadly and indiscriminate arms and preventing their re-emergence, this treaty is a fundamental pillar of international peace and security.


The Convention has near-universal membership, with 188 States Parties covering all but 2 per cent of the global population.  Under the supervision of the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), over 70 per cent of declared chemical weapons have been verifiably destroyed.


This is welcome progress, but we must continue to press for universal adherence.  I call on those States that have not yet done so, to join the Convention and be part of the effort to build a world free of these indiscriminate arms.


Despite significant investments in human and financial resources, two possessor States will not meet their destruction deadline next year.  I count on the Convention’s States parties to find a constructive and forward-looking solution to this matter, building on the OPCW’s excellent record of consensus-based decision-making.  I am also satisfied that, despite the crisis situation in Libya, the declared chemical weapons stockpiles remained secure, as recently verified by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.


The spectre of chemical warfare is receding thanks to your diligent work.  But, we cannot rest until we destroy all chemical arms and eliminate the possibility that this nightmare scenario will ever be realized.


Your efforts also help to foster international cooperation for peaceful purposes in the field of chemical activities.  There could be no better way to close out this International Year of Chemistry than to achieve solid progress in advancing your agenda.  In that spirit, I wish you a most successful Conference.


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For information media • not an official record