Arab states urged to destroy chemical weapons

  • Share via facebook
  • Tweet this
  • Bookmark and Share

Nations including Syria, Iraq and Israel should join a landmark pact for destroying stockpiles of chemical weapons as they serve hardly any security or strategic purpose, a watchdog agency said on Friday.

Rogelio Pfirter, director-general at the Hague-based Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), made the appeal ahead of a review conference next week.

So far 183 countries have ratified the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention banning the use, development, production, stockpiling and transfer of chemical weapons but the OPCW wants more states to join up.

"Chemical weapons basically terrorise civilians, they are of relatively little security or strategic use these days," Pfirter told newswire Reuters in an interview.

"It is hard to see how these weapons can make any contribution to peace."

Israel, Myanmar, Bahamas, the Dominican Republic and Guinea-Bissau have signed up to the treaty but have not ratified it, the watchdog said. Iraq, Syria, Egypt, North Korea, Somalia, Lebanon and Angola have shunned it.

Regional conflict and internal problems are among the major obstacles to these countries becoming members to the convention, said Pfirter.

"We hope these countries, irrespective of the fact they have a crisis there, will realise they should join," he said.

He said officials from some of those countries will attend next week's review conference.

"We take it as a very good sign of continued interest in the convention," he added.

Since it signed up to the treaty, Russia has destroyed nearly a quarter of its stockpile and the US close to 50%. The two countries have an extended 2012 deadline to destroy the rest of their stockpiles.

Asked if the two countries can meet their deadline, Pfirter said: "At this stage, it would be very premature to speculate one way or other. One should continue to expect they will do anything possible to continue destruction of their stockpiles."

Libya, a signatory to the pact since 2004 after it started emerging from international isolation by agreeing to halt its weapons programmes, is expected to destroy its entire stockpile by 2011. (Reuters)

Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

  • No comments yet, be the first!

Enter the words above: Enter the numbers you hear:

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
Is this the end of the Gulf’s Indian cash dash?

Is this the end of the Gulf’s Indian cash dash?

From currency woes to taxation loopholes closing and a clampdown...

Q&A with Dubai Chamber

Q&A with Dubai Chamber

We spoke with Essa Al Zaabi of Dubai Chamber of Commerce to find...

The politics of big data

The politics of big data

The UAE may be one of the fastest adopters of e-government initiatives...

Most Discussed
  • 24
    World's most pierced man refused entry to the UAE

    Tolerance has its limits everywhere including Dubai and those who considered Dubai a lawless circus were held thank you Dubai authorities... more

    Thursday, 21 August 2014 10:51 PM - Khalil
  • 23
    Baby NOT on board?

    Some of you cry babies need to get your own personal apartments on the plane ! You cry more then the babies I have seen in my travels. LOL more

    Thursday, 28 August 2014 9:10 AM - Jim
  • 21
    Israel “must be punished” over Gaza, says Dubai police chief

    This high moral ground that Mick is talking abt sound very familiar. May I remind Mick that the US & its British ally alone killed over 1 million innocent... more

    Thursday, 7 August 2014 4:12 PM - Mathew