By Paul Walker, Director, Environmental Security and Sustainability programme The CWC Coalition, coordinated by Green Cross ESS Director Paul Walker, once again put civil society groups front and centre in The Hague as the 21st annual Conference of States Parties (CSP) to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) unfolded the week of November 28th in The […]
This past week began with an address by Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moualem before a plenary session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Monday, September 29th. Moualem reiterated Syria’s commitment to full implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which Syria joined just one year ago. He claimed that the question was not of Syrian compliance but “whether those who are supplying the terrorists with this, and other types of weapons, will stop their actions and abide by international law”.
Despite this bold statement, allegations from Israeli intelligence agencies surfaced just two days later on Wednesday, October 1st, claiming that “Assad’s regime continues to maintain ‘residual’ chemical weapons capacity, amounting to perhaps a few tons”. Nonetheless a senior official of the Israeli Defense Ministry commended the international effort to remove Syrian chemical weapons, referring to it as a “non-negligible achievement carried out without the use of force”. The US intelligence community has yet to dispute these allegations.
On Thursday, October 2nd, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement congratulating the work of the UN-OPCW Joint Mission as it has now come to an end. He stated that the “Joint Mission has successfully conducted its work over the past twelve months under extremely challenging and complex circumstances.” He concluded with by stressing “the need for a world free of chemical weapons” calling upon all six states who haven’t already done so, to accede to the Chemical Weapons Convention.
However, as the UN-OPCW Joint Mission begins its withdrawal from Syria the destruction of chemical production facilities is set to commence. The OPCW reported that all 12 facilities should be destroyed by the end of November. However, concerns linger surrounding whether or not Syria has declared all of its chemical weapons, and chemical weapons production facilities. This has become increasingly salient as ISIS continues to seize large parts of Syria: chemical weapons in the hands of terrorists needs be avoided at all costs.
Green Cross International (GCI) and the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) co-organized an expert discussion on Monday, July 18, 2016 in Washington DC on global chemical safety and security. Chaired by Ambassador Robert Mikulak, Distinguished Visiting Scholar at CNS and former US Representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), […]