Ban encourages remaining states to join CWC

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday that he hoped the recent use of chemical weapons would encourage states outside the Chemical Weapons Convention to help build a world free of chemical weapons.

Ban made the remarks as part of a message to the 18th session of the Conference of States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention in the Hague. He said 2013 was an extraordinary year for the CWC, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the U.N. While there were positive developments, he highlighted the deadly use of chemical arms in Syria.

"The OPCW Director-General (Ahmet uzumcu) and I have joined with many other voices in condemning the use of chemical weapons," Ban said. "Though broken, the taboo on their use still remains, as does the world's determination to seek the elimination of such weapons - not just in Syria, but everywhere. We must do everything we can to prevent the chemical genie from coming back out of its bottle; as long as chemical weapons exist, there remains a risk that they will be used."

Ban said much remains to be done in Syria and stressed the need for the full support of all CWC Member States, including Syria.

Ban also encouraged the six remaining states outside the CWC to join the convention and help rid the world of chemical weapons.

"The United Nations remains strongly committed to promoting the universality and full implementation of the CWC," Ban said. "I hope the recent use of these weapons will encourage the six states that remain outside the convention to join it and thereby become a full part of our shared efforts to build a world free of chemical weapons."