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former IAEA Director-General

MEDIA ADVISORY: OPCW's Nobel Peace Prize Reminder of Successes and Challenges on Chemical Weapons
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For Immediate Release: October 11, 2013

Media Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association (202) 463-8270, ext. 107

(Washington, D.C.)--Leaders from the Washington-based Arms Control Association (ACA) welcomed the Nobel Committee's decision to award their 2013 Peace Prize to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons "for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons."

"The OPCW clearly deserves this year's Nobel Prize. Over the past fifteen years, the OPCW has successfully verified the elimination of 80 percent of the world's declared chemical weapons stockpiles as required by the Chemical Weapons Convention. The OPCW is also an integral part of the ongoing plan for eliminating Syria's deadly chemical arsenal, which will protect Syria's people from the further use of these terrible weapons. Thanks to the work of the OPCW and CWC's 190 member states, we can achieve a world free of chemical weapons in the near future,” said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association.

Dr. Paul Walker, a member of ACA's Board of Directors, who was was recently awarded one of the prestigious 2013 Right Livelihood Awards "for working tirelessly to rid the world of chemical weapons," said  “the Nobel Committee's recognition of the OPCW is a testament to its unique brand of effective, practical diplomacy. This has succeeded in getting countries from all over the world to sign up to, and implement, the Chemical Weapons Convention. My special praise goes to my close friend and collaborator, OPCW Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü, who has led the organization admirably, particularly during complex moments, such as the ongoing Syria crisis.”

To help the OPCW fulfill its ongoing mission, key CWC member states will need to provide the necessary leadership and support to:

  • encourage the remaining six states that have not signed and ratified to do so. Ratification by Israel and Egypt, in particular, would help move the Middle East closer to becoming a zone free of weapons of mass destruction;
  • assist all member states with national implementation measures for the treaty;
  • complete the chemical weapons elimination process in the United States and Russia, which have fallen behind their destruction schedules; and
  • provide the OPCW with the additional resources and technical personnel for the Syria operation. which will cost tens of millions of dollars over the coming months.

"This Nobel Prize, which comes nearly one-hundred years since the widespread use of chemical weapons in World War I. It is a reminder of the vital work undertaken over the years to prohibit the use and possession of these terrible weapons and is a reminder of the work that still needs to be done," Kimball said.

Relevant Resources:

"Syria Plan Is Difficult But Doable," editorial in Arms Control Today, October 2013

"Chemical Weapons Convention At A Glance," Arms Control Association Fact Sheet, September 2013

"Abolishing Chemical Weapons: Progress, Challenges, and Opportunities," by Paul Walker, Arms Control Today, November 2010.

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The Arms Control Association (ACA) is an independent membership organization dedicated to promoting public understanding and effective policies to address the threats posed by the world's most dangerous weapons: nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, as well as certain types of conventional weapons that pose a threat to noncombatants. ACA publishes the monthly journal Arms Control Today.

 

Posted: October 11, 2013