OPCW issues statement on Syria

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons issued a statement this week concerning recent developments in Syria.

An OPCW spokesman said that Director-General Ahmet uzumcu agrees with statements recently made about Syria on behalf of the United Nations secretary-general. The OPCW will continue to monitor events in Syria and remains concerned about the government's potential use of chemical weapons.

"The use or threat of use of chemical weapons is unacceptable," the OPCW spokesman said. "As a party to the 1925 Geneva Protocol, Syria is obligated by international law not to use chemical weapons under any circumstances. The Syrian Government must also ensure the safety and security of any stocks of chemical weapons it may possess."

uzumcu said that the OPCW has the responsibility to implement the conventions provision and a responsibility to secure its goals. He considers the situation in Syria to be critical.

"For the first time in the history of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which entered into force in April 1997, there are serious concerns that chemical weapons might be used," uzumcu said.

The OPCW said that it has made several attempts to bring Syria into the Chemical Weapons Convention, but has yet to receive any kind of official response from the government. In November, the OPCW director-general and the U.N. secretary-general sent a series of joint communications to the heads of state of the eight governments not in the convention. The communications urged them to join without delay.