SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS EXPANDING MEMBERSHIP IN CHEMICAL WEAPONS TREATY ‘VITAL’
FOR INTERNATIONAL SECURITY, AS STATES PARTIES MEET IN THE HAGUE
Following is Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s message to the ninth session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention, delivered by Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Director-General, United Nations Office in Geneva, in The Hague, 29 November:
Seven years after the Convention entered into force, efforts to rid the world of chemical weapons continue to occupy a central place on the global agenda. It is a source of encouragement that steady progress has been made in the destruction of declared chemical arsenals. I commend the relevant States for this achievement, as well as those States that have helped make it possible. Nevertheless, a great deal more remains to be done. I urge the concerned States to meet their obligations under the Convention, and call upon the international community to continue to support these efforts.
I also call upon all States that have not yet done so to ratify or accede to the Chemical Weapons Convention without delay. Expanding membership in the Convention is vital for strengthening international security and for promoting the peaceful use of chemistry. While the Convention now includes 167 States Parties, covering some 90 per cent of the world’s chemical industry, a number of key States remain outside its purview, particularly in some areas of concern.
Multilateral action offers a platform for the international community to fight the scourge of chemical weapons, promote confidence-building and to significantly reduce the possibility of terrorists acquiring chemical agents for nefarious purposes. It is crucial for States Parties to also implement effective national legislation to give substance to their commitments under the Convention. The Plan of Action on National Implementation adopted last year is a useful instrument in achieving that goal.
I look forward to continuing to work closely with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons towards our common goal of advancing the causes of peace and security and building a safer world for all people. In that spirit of partnership, please accept my best wishes for a successful conference.
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