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Annan calls for universal participation in chemical weapons treaty

Annan calls for universal participation in chemical weapons treaty

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called on all countries that have not yet done so to ratify or accede to a global treaty against chemical weapons.

Expanding membership in the Chemical Weapons Convention is vital for strengthening international security and for promoting the peaceful use of chemistry, he said in a message to the Ninth Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Convention delivered by Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Director-General of the UN Office in Geneva.

“It is a source of encouragement that steady progress has been made in the destruction of declared chemical arsenals,” he said. “Nevertheless, a great deal more remains to be done. I urge the concerned States to meet their obligations under the Convention, and call upon the international community to continue to support these efforts.”

He noted that in the seven years since the Convention entered into force, it now includes 167 States Parties – covering some 90 per cent of the world’s chemical industry – but a number of key States remain outside its purview, particularly in some areas of concern.

“Multilateral action offers a platform for the international community to fight the scourge of chemical weapons, promote confidence-building and to significantly reduce the possibility of terrorists acquiring chemical agents for nefarious purposes,” he said. “It is crucial for States Parties to also implement effective national legislation to give substance to their commitments under the Convention.”