Argentine named head of Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
Rogelio Pfirter, a lawyer and career diplomat who served most recently as Argentina's Under-Secretary for Foreign Policy, was named the new Director-General of the Organization for the Prohibition for Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on Thursday. He thanked delegates for their unanimous support and said the OPCW "serves as a model for the global disarmament of weapons of mass destruction."
Mr. Pfirter replaces José Bustani, whose term as Director-General was cut short in April by a vote in a special session of the States Parties. The incoming OPCW chief, who will serve a four-year term, pledged to put the Organization "firmly back on its feet" following what he termed "one of the most complicated periods in its brief history."
"This is time for healing," he told the OPCW staff. "Time for regrouping."
Looking to the tasks ahead, Mr. Pfirter emphasized the need for collective wisdom, joint action and consensus decision-making in tackling global problems. "The task of ridding the world of chemical weapons and ensuring that these do not threaten human lives again demands no less than the participation of all member States," he said.
The new Director-General pledged to be guided by the principles of transparency and even-handedness. "For me confidence requires that implementation of the Convention be carried out in a balanced and non-discriminatory manner," he stressed. He also pledged to secure the necessary financial resources for OPCW to carry out its mandate.
Stressing that chemical weapons arsenals and former chemical weapon production facilities must be destroyed as soon as possible, he noted that "there is still a way to go before the Convention becomes truly universal."
The OPCW aims to achieve a number of key objectives, including the elimination of chemical weapons and the capacity to develop them as well as the verification of non-proliferation, international assistance and protection in the event of the use or threat of use of those deadly arms.