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“It will take all of us working together – government officials, and diplomats, academic experts, and scientists, activists, and organizers – to come up with new and innovative approaches to strengthen transparency and predictability, reduce risk, and forge the next generation of arms control agreements.”
– Wendy Sherman
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State
June 2, 2022
Addressing Current Chemical Weapons Convention Compliance Challenges
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Tuesday, March 26, 2024
10:00 - 11:00 a.m., U.S. Eastern Time

Although all member states of the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention have verifiably completed the destruction of the chemical weapons stockpiles as required by the treaty, the regime still faces compliance challenges. Ten years after Syria's massive declared chemical arsenal was removed from its territory and destroyed under international supervision, gaps and inconsistencies in its declaration remain unresolved and several incidents of chemical weapons use have been documented by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

Meanwhile, credible allegations have arisen in the past several months that Russia has used riot control agents against Ukrainian infantry position, which would be a violation of the CWC.

A high-level group of panelists discussed these ongoing CWC compliance concerns.

Speakers included:

  • Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, former Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will review on the OPCW’s investigations and findings regarding chemical weapons use in the Syrian Arab Republic, and approaches to addressing unresolved issues.
  • Fadel Abdulghany, head of the Syrian Human Rights Network, will discuss ongoing concerns and impacts chemical weapons use on the Syrian people, and the role of civil society in documenting incidents of CWC noncompliance.
  • Ambassador Susannah Gordon, Permanent Representative of New Zealand to the OPCW, will provide an update on new allegations that riot control agents are being used by Russian forces in the war in Ukraine in violation of the CWC, what it means in terms of challenges to the CW, and how CWC member states might respond.

The webinar was be moderated by CWC Coalition Project Coordinator Mina Rozei.

This discussion was on the record. The webinar was organized by the Arms Control Association and the Chemical Weapons Convention Coalition.