Responding to a request from the Syrian government, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is preparing to conduct an investigation into claims of chemical weapons use in Syria.
Üzümcü spoke with Arms Control Today by telephone on December 19 from his office in The Hague. A large part of the interview dealt with concerns over Syria’s reportedly large arsenal of chemical weapons, the prospect that those weapons would be used, and the OPCW’s responsibilities, capabilities, and constraints with regard to that situation. The interview also covered issues that are likely to receive considerable attention at the upcoming review conference for the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), scheduled for April 8-19.
President Barack Obama last month warned the Syrian government that using or moving chemical weapons would be seen as a step that was so serious it could trigger a U.S. military response.
Amid ongoing concerns about the fate of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile, officials in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East are making plans to secure it once the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad falls.
Libya has set a target date of December 2013 for complete destruction of its most potent chemical weapons, according to documents circulated at a May 1-4 meeting on the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).
Destruction of the last elements of the U.S. chemical weapons stockpile could take two years longer than previously planned, the Army’s Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives (ACWA) program said in an April 17 press release.
Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) voted overwhelmingly on Dec. 1 to approve a document that reaffirms the importance of the treaty’s April 2012 deadline for destruction of chemical weapons stockpiles but does not say countries that failed to meet the deadline would be violating the terms of the pact.
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is preparing to send inspectors to two previously undeclared sites in Libya, the organization said in a Nov. 4 press release.
Libya’s remaining stockpile of usable mustard gas could be destroyed “within a month” once certain conditions are met, the chief of the international body that implements the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) said Sept. 16.
With a treaty-imposed deadline for destruction of all chemical weapons stockpiles less than seven months away, diplomats are scrambling to avoid a crisis over the officially acknowledged fact that Russia and the United States, the holders of the world’s largest stockpiles of those weapons, will not eliminate them by that date.