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Annan urges support for organization working to stamp out chemical weapons

Annan urges support for organization working to stamp out chemical weapons

Secretary-General Kofi Annan today urged support for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which was created to implement an international treaty banning those arms.

In a message to the Sixth Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention, held at The Hague, Mr. Annan called on those countries to give OPCW "their full support, in particular by providing the resources necessary for it to function effectively."

In addition, the Secretary-General urged all countries that had not yet ratified or acceded to the Convention to do so without delay. Noting that 165 countries have already signed the Convention, and the number of States parties had grown to143, he stressed that "while this is an encouraging development, there is no room for complacency.

The Secretary-General paid tribute to OPCW's successes, including its steady progress in implementing the Convention's provisions. Lauding the vital role played by the Convention since its entry-into-force in 1997, Mr. Annan pledged his commitment to "upholding the viability of this key instrument of international peace and security."

The Chemical Weapons Convention is the first disarmament agreement negotiated within a multilateral framework which provides for the elimination of an entire category of weapons of mass destruction within a fixed time frame and under a universally applied verification mechanism. The treaty prohibits the development, production, acquisition, retention, stockpiling, transfer and use of all chemical weapons. It also requires each State party to eliminate its stocks of chemical weapons and its production facilities.