Chemical weapons – Fifth Review Conference of the Chemical Weapons Convention (19 May 2023)


France deplores the fact that the Fifth Review Conference of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) ended on May 19 without adopting a final document by consensus because of deliberate obstruction by Russia and Syria. Those nations prevented an agreement on a final document, rejecting the work carried out by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

France applauds the relentless efforts of OPCW Director-General Fernando Arias, the chairperson of the Working Group for the Preparation of the Fifth Review Conference, the Conference chair, and all the States parties that have worked to advance the fight against the re-emergence of chemical weapons. Those efforts will not be in vain, because the session that just ended in The Hague emphasized the nearly entire international community’s support for an absolute prohibition on the use of these inhumane weapons.

The Chemical Weapons Convention, whose signing 30 years ago we celebrated in Paris on January 13, is about to achieve one of its initial goals, with the total destruction a few months ago of the chemical weapons stockpiles that were declared when it entered in force. The adoption of a final document would have been an opportunity to highlight this major success for the organization while providing new directions, at a time when we are facing new challenges and threats, especially due to the re-emerging use of chemical weapons.

During the upcoming sessions of the Executive Council and the Conference of States Parties, we will continue to work with all the delegations to achieve tangible results, building on the accomplishments of the Review Conference and harnessing all the potential offered by the new Centre for Chemistry and Technology.