OPCW Deputy Director-General Grace Asirwatham speaks at conference

Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Deputy Director-General Grace Asirwatham made a speech on Saturday at the 60th Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs: Dialogue, Disarmament & Regional and Global Security.

The Pugwash Conference was held in Istanbul, Turkey, and attracted more than 200 participants, including scientists, policy-makers and scholars representing academia, international organizations and non-government organizations from around the world.

At an exclusive dinner, Asirwatham made a speech on behalf of the OPCW Director General on the progress made by the OPCW-United Nations Joint Mission in Syria, OPCW accomplishments to date and where the organization is headed.

Asirwatham said the scientific community plays a significant role in the prevention of chemical weapon threats. She also said collaboration among civil societies and the chemical industry would be required to prevent chemical weapons threats for future generations.

The Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs began in 1957 and serves as one of the leading platforms for the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction and the move towards global security.

This year's conference called on its participants to create innovative solutions to some of the most challenging roadblocks to global disarmament. Turkish President Abdullah Gul said the first step towards the elimination of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East has already begun with the OPCW-U.N. Joint Mission in Syria.