U.N. calls on all nations to join chemical weapons ban

The U.N.'s secretary general has called on all members of the United Nations to join the international treaty banning the development, production and use of chemical weapons.

"Let us honor the victims of chemical warfare by reaffirming our commitment to strengthening the Convention, which is the only instrument that bans an entire category of weapons of mass destruction under strict international verification," Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said.

The secretary general made his statements this week to mark the enactment of the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1997, which established far-reaching rights and obligations aimed at freeing the world of chemical weapons.

To date, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has verified the destruction of 58 percent of the world's declared chemical weapons stockpiles. Additionally, 89 percent of all chemical weapons production facilities have either been destroyed or converted to peaceful uses, the secretary general said.

"New developments in science and technology have the potential to make it easier to produce chemical weapons," Ban Ki-Moon warned. "There is also the risk that non-State actors will acquire such weapons. Additional collective efforts will be essential in achieving progress on each of the key areas covered by the Convention: disarmament, non-proliferation, international cooperation, assistance and protection."