Chemical weapons – Meeting between Jean-Yves Le Drian and Fernando Arias, director-general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (31 October 2018)

Jean-Yves Le Drian is hosting Fernando Arias, director-general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), today.

This meeting comes amid the global reemergence of chemical weapons, which have been used since 2012 by state and non-state actors in the Levant, in Asia and – in 2018 – in Europe, on UK soil. The minister will emphasize that these events and this context call for a strong response by the OPCW.

Mr. Le Drian and Mr. Arias will review the chemical weapons situation in Syria, especially the strong uncertainties that remain with regard to the initial Syrian declaration to the OPCW and current investigations into the use of toxic agents in Syria identified by the organization in the course of 2018.

The minister will evoke the implementation of the decision adopted in June to bolster the Organization’s resources. That decision provides, in particular, for the creation of an attribution mechanism to identify those using chemical weapons in Syria. Such mechanisms are crucial in reinforcing the prohibition against such weapons and as a deterrent to their use.

Mr. Le Drian will stress that protecting the chemical weapons non-proliferation regime is vital to preserving our system of collective security and that all states parties to the convention are responsible for protecting it and pledging that they will not accept impunity for any of the actors involved in using such weapons, in developing military chemical programs or in transferring sensitive or dual-use materials to the laboratories of proliferating countries.

It is in this spirit that on January 23, France launched an international partnership against impunity for the use of chemical weapons. Joined by 38 nations and the European Union, the partnership has posted on its Internet site the names of more than 200 individuals and entities sanctioned for their role in the use or proliferation of such weapons.