December 9, 2019

Australia Contributes €100,000 to Help OPCW Identify Perpetrators of Chemical Weapons Attacks

Permanent Representative of Australia to the OPCW, H.E. Ambassador Matthew Neuhaus and OPCW Director-General, H.E. Mr Fernando Arias

The Government of Australia contributed last March €100,000 toward the Trust Fund for Syria Missions for the formation and operation of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) team to identify the perpetrators of chemical weapons attacks in the Syrian Arab Republic.

The team was created pursuant to the decision on addressing the threat from chemical weapons use adopted by the Conference of the States Parties at its Fourth Special Session in June 2018.

The contribution was formalised through an arrangement signed on 15 March by OPCWDirector-General, H.E. Mr Fernando Arias, and the Government of Australia through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade represented by Permanent Representative of Australia to the OPCW, H.E. Ambassador Matthew Neuhaus.

The Director-General has appealed to all OPCW Member States in a position to make voluntary contributions to do so while emphasising that “Identifying perpetrators will advance existing endeavours to tackle the re-emergence of use of chemical weapons”.

Ambassador Neuhaus remarked that Australia welcomes the decision to boost the OPCW’s ability to investigate and attribute responsibility for any future use of chemical weapons, in a way that no single country can veto. He continued to state, “Identifying perpetrators in an independent and impartial way will help deter others who believe they can get away with using these reprehensible weapons. Strengthening global arrangements to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is a key national security priority for Australia. It is part of the Government’s efforts to make our nation, and the international community, safer and more secure.”

The OPCW’s Technical Secretariat is currently assembling a team of experts and setting up necessary procedures.

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