U.N. secretary-general opens chemical weapons convention

The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened the 15th Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention on November 29 by lauding the convention’s more significant contributions to world safety.

“I welcome the significant progress that has been made, including the destruction of more than 60 percent of the world’s declared stockpiles of chemical weapons under strict verification,” the Secretary-General said, according to the meeting’s official transcripts.

Ban also said that he believes that the convention remains am effective, non-discriminatory and comprehensive legal instrument that has the ability to verify the existence and destruction of chemical weapons stockpiles, as well as prevent their proliferation.

He further lauded the progress of three possessor states that recently completed their destruction programs and commended the actions of the remaining possessor signatories. The challenge, according to Ban, will be for them to fulfill all of their obligations by the April 2012 deadline.

The secretary-general paid particular attention to the global nature of the convention.

“With 188 states parties encompassing 98 percent of the global population, the convention is approaching universal membership, thereby moving ever closer to eliminating the possibility that chemical weapons will be used,” Ban said.

There was also a message to those nations that are not a part of the convention.

“It is crucial for the remaining seven states that are not party to the convention to join without delay," Ban said. "Their accession would build confidence in their respective regions and strengthen international peace and security in general."