The Twelfth Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the OPCW

This annual Conference is the principal decision-making body of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). This year, 126 of the 182 States Parties to the Convention are represented. In addition, four States not Party to the Convention––the Dominican Republic and Israel (signatory States) and Iraq and Lebanon–– are attending as observers.

A number of international organisations are also in attendance, including the United Nations (UN), the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), the Council of the European Union, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), the League of Arab States, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Chemical industry associations and non-governmental organisations are also observing the proceedings.

The Conference unanimously elected H.E. Mr Abuelgasim Abdelwahid Shiekh Idris, Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Sudan to the OPCW, as the Chairperson for the Twelfth Session of the Conference.

In his opening statement, the Director-General of the OPCW, Ambassador Rogelio Pfirter, reported on the status of the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, and touched on a number of issues, including the status of destruction of declared chemical weapons by possessor States Parties, national implementation and universality of the Convention, industry verification, assistance and protection against the threat or use of chemical weapons, and international cooperation for peaceful purposes in the field of chemical activities.

The Conference started with the general debate at which heads of delegations are delivering their national statements and will be followed by consideration of various items on the agenda.

At its Twelfth Session, the Conference is expected to approve the OPCW’s Programme and Budget for 2008, and review the status of the two action plans on the universality of the Convention and the implementation of Article VII obligations, among other issues.

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