On 28 October, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon presented the first report on the destruction of chemical weapons (CW) in Syria to the UN Security Council (UNSC). The document also included the report by Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü to the Executive Council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The monthly submissions are required under paragraph 12 of UNSC Resolution 2118. Both officials recorded significant progress since the adoption of the key decisions by the OPCW Executive Council and the UNSC on 27 September. They noted Syria’s cooperation, and listed the challenges ahead and the requirements to be able to meet the final destruction deadline of mid-2014.
Today Syria becomes the 190th party to the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).
In the 16 years since entry into force on 29 April 1997, CWC universality now equals that of the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (which entered into force on 5 March 1970).
The convention extends the 1925 Geneva Protocol’s ban on chemical (and biological) warfare by also comprehensively prohibiting the development, acquisition, transfer and possession of chemical weapons (CW). Indeed, the norm against CW has become so overpowering that a relatively small chemical attack by historical standards in Ghouta (Damascus) on 21 August brought allies and foes of the Bashar al-Assad regime together forcing the Syrian government to formally renounce CW as an instrument of war or deterrence. All of this in a matter of less than seven weeks!
Hearing before the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Strasbourg, 30 September 2013