October 11th, 2013 11:41 EST
Ban Lauds Awarding of Nobel Peace Prize to International Chemical Watchdog
Hailing its work on disarmament and non-proliferation, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today congratulated the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for being awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.
From the battlefields to the laboratories to the negotiating table, the United Nations is honoured to work hand-in-hand with the OPCW to eliminate the threat posed by chemical weapons for all people and for all time, " Mr. Ban said.
The OPCW has greatly strengthened the rule of law in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation. Thanks in large measure to its efforts, 80 per cent of the declared chemical weapons stockpiles have been destroyed. I strongly believe this success can inspire other parts of the global disarmament machinery to live up to the expectations of the international community. "
Mr. Ban stressed that while the OPCW is being recognized nearly 100 years after the first chemical attack, chemical weapons remain a clear and present danger, " as shown by the crisis in Syria, where an advance team for the UN-OPCW joint mission is overseeing the destruction of the country`s chemical stockpiles.
Mr. Ban added that later today the Security Council is expected to approve a first-of-its-kind OPCW-UN Joint Mission in Syria following the landmark work carried out by the UN Chemical Weapons Investigation Mission.
The OPCW has a specific task " to eliminate chemical weapons and prevent them from ever re-emerging. But it also has a broad mission " to prove that the inhumanity of war can give rise to the humanity of solidarity and international cooperation, " he said.
Mr. Ban also underlined that progress must be complemented by efforts to gain universal adherence to the Chemical Weapons Convention, and he urged all countries to sign, ratify and implement it without delay.
In a statement issued earlier, OPCW`s Director-General, Ahmet " zÃ¼mcÃ¼, said the award will only spur the organisation`s efforts, commitment and dedication.
For over 16 years we have done what was expected of us. But we were always inspired by the true humanitarian spirit that imbues the Chemical Weapons Convention. We were aware that our work silently but surely was contributing to peace in the world. " Mr. " zÃ¼mcÃ¼ said.
A great honour has been bestowed on me and my colleagues. But without the support of the States Parties this would not have been possible. "
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