Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today highlighted the continuing global threat posed by chemical weapons, voicing particular concern with statements by the Syrian Government regarding the existence and possible use of these tools of mass destruction.
“I once again emphasize the fundamental responsibility of the Syrian Government to ensure the safety and security of any such stockpiles. The use of such weapons would be an outrageous crime with dire consequences,” Mr. Ban told reporters at UN Headquarters in New York.
Syria is one of eight States that are not yet party to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which bans the use and stockpiling of these weapons. The other States are Angola, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, Israel, Myanmar, Somalia and South Sudan.
“The overall threat remains a serious global concern,” Mr. Ban said in his comments, which he delivered prior to the High-level Meeting of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which was created to serve as the treaty’s implementing body.
“Chemical weapons simply have no place in the 21st century. Progress in this vital area will help generate momentum to meet our goal of eliminating all weapons of mass destruction.
The time has come,” he added.
The Convention – which is marking its 15th anniversary this year along with the Organisation – now has 188 States parties. Three-quarters of the world’s declared chemical weapons stockpiles have been eliminated.
“This is a remarkable achievement,” Mr. Ban said in his remarks to the High-level Meeting, adding that it is now time to build on these gains and prevent the re-emergence and proliferation of chemical weapons.
“The universality of the CWC is indispensable to eliminating an entire category of weapons of mass destruction. I urge the eight States that are not yet party to the Convention to join without delay.”
Today’s High-Level Meeting is taking place on the margins of the high-level debate of the General Assembly’s 67th session.