20th anniversary of cooperation to prohibit chemical weapons

'I would like to congratulate the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü on the OPCW's 20th anniversary. Throughout these years, the OPCW has done very important work towards achieving the goal of a world free of chemical weapons,' said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

The OPCW was founded on 29 April 1997 to implement the Chemical Weapons Convention that entered into force the same year. Today, 20 years later, more than 94 % of the world's declared stockpiles of chemical weapons have been destroyed under verification by the OPCW. The organisation was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013 for its work for international peace and security.

'The appalling gas attack in Syria earlier this month highlights the importance of ensuring that all chemical weapons are destroyed. The OPCW, in cooperation with the UN, skilfully performs the important task of detecting and investigating violations of the Chemical Weapons Convention under extremely difficult conditions,' Mr Brende said.

The OPCW played an important role in the removal and destruction of the reported stockpiles of chemical weapons and chemicals in Syria and Libya. Syria joined the Chemical Weapons Convention in 2013. However, the OPCW and the UN have concluded that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons against its own people since then. Isil has also used improvised chemical weapons. The OPCW has gathered evidence and reported its findings to the UN Security Council.

Press contact: Marte Lerberg Kopstad, phone: +47 995 22 026.