Ban Ki-moon urges States to eliminate chemical and unexploded weaponry

Ban Ki-moon

5 November 2007 – Underscoring the horrific impacts of both chemical and unexploded weaponry on civilians and future generations, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged States to ratify and adhere to global treaties banning these arms.

Mr. Ban made his remarks in messages to two separate meetings: in The Hague on the Chemical Weapons Convention, and in Geneva on the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons’ Protocol V, covering Explosive Remnants of War.

A decade has passed since the Chemical Weapons Convention entered into force, and “today, it stands as a monument to the world’s determination to eliminate one of the most inhumane weapons ever conceived,” he said in a message delivered by Sergio Duarte, the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs.

The Convention has 182 parties – almost universal membership and representing 98 per cent of the global population – but several key countries are not a part of the pact, he pointed out.

“Their adherence to the Convention is critical to the success of this multilateral disarmament treaty,” Mr. Ban noted.

He lauded Albania for its “landmark achievement” in its destruction of its entire stockpile of chemical weapons in July this year, and called on all States in possession of them to destroy them within already-established deadlines.

Regarding the agreement on explosive remnants of war – munitions that have not functioned as intended or have been abandoned – the Secretary-General stressed that these weapons “continue to endanger lives long after hostilities have ended, and hinder the socio-economic reconstruction of societies struggling to emerge from the ravages of war.”

To date, 35 States have acceded to Protocol V, which went into force in November 2006.

The existence of these munitions is “of no military benefit,” Mr. Ban said in a message delivered by Timothy Caughley, Deputy Secretary-General for the Conference on Disarmament. “It is in the interests of all to ensure that their pernicious hazards to people and the environment are minimized and, where possible, eliminated.”

The Secretary-General appealed to those countries which have not ratified and implemented the Protocol to do so immediately and, pending their adherence to the agreement, to apply its provisions voluntarily.

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