The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), H.E. Mr Fernando Arias, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence of Ireland, Simon Coveney, T.D., met online on 29 June to discuss progress in the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).
The Director-General’s briefing to the Foreign Minister covered a range of issues including OPCW’s activities related to the Syrian chemical weapons dossier, the Organisation’s efforts to counter the threat of use of chemical weapons, international cooperation, and promotion of the peaceful uses of chemistry. Director-General Arias also provided an update on the project to build a new OPCW Centre for Chemistry and Technology outside The Hague in the Netherlands.
The Foreign Minister stated: “Ireland is a longstanding supporter of the OPCW in its vital role in the global prohibition of chemical weapons. We will continue to work with the international community to prevent impunity and uphold the integrity of the Chemical Weapons Convention. It is crucial that we enable the OPCW to undertake its vital work in ensuring the elimination of chemical weapons and seeking accountability for perpetrators of chemical weapons attacks. In this regard, Ireland recently demonstrated our commitment to the Trust Fund for Syria Missions by contributing €100,000 in support of its activities.”
The Director-General underlined: “I welcome the opportunity to discuss ongoing and future areas of collaboration with the Irish Government, spanning the entire breadth of OPCW’s mandate, including the threat from chemical weapons use. I thank Ireland for its sustained and steadfast support for the Organisation, not least through a range of voluntary contributions. Such commitment is essential if the international community is to be successful in meeting the full range of challenges in protecting and advancing the global norm against chemical weapons.”
Ireland has been an active member of the OPCW since the Chemical Weapons Convention entered into force in 1997.
As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW, with its 193 Member States, oversees the global endeavour to permanently eliminate chemical weapons. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1997, it is the most successful disarmament treaty eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction.
Over 98% of all declared chemical weapon stockpiles have been destroyed under OPCW verification. For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.