Qatar: Continued Use of Chemical Weapons Threatens Regional, International Peace and Security

The Hague The State of Qatar stressed that the continued use of chemical weapons in Syria and some other States by governments and terrorist organizations against innocent civilians continues to be a burden on the international community and a threat to regional and international peace and security.

This came in the speech of HE Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed Al-Thani during the Fourth Review Conference of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which is held in The Hague, Kingdom of the Netherlands, from 21-30 November 2018, and reviewed the efforts of the State of Qatar to achieve the universality of the CWC and create a world free of weapons of mass destruction.

On behalf of the delegation of the State of Qatar, HE Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed Al-Thani congratulated HE Ambassador of the Republic of El Salvador, Agustin Vasquez Gomez, on his election as Chairman of the Fourth Review Conference of the CWC, saying that we have full confidence in his ability and wise leadership in guiding the work of this important conference towards success and achieving the desired goals.

His Excellency stressed that the Fourth Review Conference of the CWC was a fundamental step in the development of the chemical weapons ban regime, adding that despite progress in the destruction of chemical weapons stockpiles declared in the world, which has so far reached 96 percent, we believe that Member States must comply with various regulations, including the verification system administered by the technical secretariat, to ensure that chemical weapons do not reappear.

HE the Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the OPCW said that the State of Qatar appreciated the organization’s efforts to achieve the universality of the Chemical Weapons Convention, welcoming the accession of the State of Palestine to become the 193th member of the Convention, and called on the rest of the non-signatories to join the Convention to achieve a world free of chemical weapons.

His Excellency added that the State of Qatar believes that the legitimacy of the CWC derives from the application of its just principles, and the State of Qatar continues to pursue a policy of supporting all legal instruments and international initiatives that promote disarmament, non-proliferation and regional and international security on a fair and equitable basis.

HE Qatar’s Permanent Representative to the OPCW Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed Al-Thani said that since Qatar joined the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), it has spared no effort in implementing all the articles of the CWC and supporting its activities by encouraging non-party countries and allowing them to participate in the events held in Doha, which culminated in their accession to the Convention.

His Excellency reiterated Qatar’s commitment to the objectives of the CWC and its full implementation as well as the fulfillment of all its obligations. He said that one of the main points discussed in the conference is the destruction of the current stockpile of chemical weapons, which for the State of Qatar and all the States Parties is a fundamental principle that must be achieved according to the plans submitted and within the time limits approved by the OPCW, in order to prevent terrorist organizations from access to such weapons and prevent their use against civilians so that the international community lives in a safe environment.

He also stressed that the State of Qatar, as always, will continue to implement the Convention, through the further development of national legislation, as it issued the chemical weapons law 17 of 2007 which was amended by the new law No. 16 of 2013 to ensure that its provisions are closely aligned with the articles of the Convention, with a focus on promoting control over import, export and licensing of controlled chemicals.

HE Qatar’s Permanent Representative to the OPCW said that the continued use of chemical weapons in Syria and some other States by governments and terrorist organizations against innocent civilians continues to be a burden on the international community and a threat to regional and international peace and security.

The State of Qatar, he said, appreciated the efforts made by the OPCW through the fact-finding mission and the joint mission between the United Nations and OPCW to oversee the elimination of the chemical weapons program in Syria.

His Excellency also referred to Qatar’s participation in the fourth special session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention, which adopted a decision on ‘addressing the threat from chemical weapons use’, with a majority of 82 votes in favor of the decision that expanded the competence of the OPCW and granted it the right to determine who is responsible for attacks with toxic chemical weapons, thereby strengthening the powers of the OPCW, in the absence of a mechanism to determine who is responsible for such attacks.

HE Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the OPCW Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed Al-Thani said that what I mentioned on the possible reuse of chemical weapons leads us to the need to prepare and confront such events, which is the importance of Article X on assistance and protection, pointing that in order to enhance the provisions of Article X and pursuant to Articles VI, VII and XI of the Convention, the State of Qatar established the 2012 Doha Regional Centre for Training on the Conventions on Weapons of Mass Destruction.

His Excellency added that this center is one of the fruits of close cooperation between OPCW and the State of Qatar. It plays a major role in the maintenance of international peace and security by strengthening the capacities of States parties and the role of the verification regime under the Article VI in the light of emerging threats and chemical terrorism, as well as promoting peaceful uses of chemistry.

He pointed out that the State of Qatar organized through the Doha Regional Center more than 30 programs until 2018 in cooperation with the technical secretariat of the organization and at a cost of more than QR 12 million covering the fields of Articles VI, VII, X and XI of the Convention.

He stressed that during the past five years several events were organized: the first forum on the technical aspects of transport systems and the challenges of integrated management in the petrochemical industry, seven training workshops on assistance and protection, and four training workshops on annual chemicals advertisements, five chemical safety and security management training workshops, and five annual meetings of representatives of the chemical industry and national bodies of the CWC.

His Excellency revealed that more than 75 countries and international organizations and more than 650 trainees from the GCC, Arab countries and representatives from Asia, Africa, Europe, North America and South America participated in the training courses.

He added that Doha Regional Center reflects Qatar’s pioneering experience in community awareness by organizing more than 50 training and awareness programs at the national level for high school students, universities, chemical industry workers, customs, chemical trade and civil defense companies.

His Excellency stressed that in addition to its activities in the area of the Biological Weapons Convention and the non-proliferation treaties, we periodically conduct awareness-raising courses to raise awareness about the dangers of chemical weapons and weapons of mass destruction.

HE the Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the OPCW said that the State of Qatar was a key partner in the implementation of the convention and, in its belief in the true value of international cooperation, and in support of all international disarmament endeavors, declares the readiness of the Doha Regional Center, in coordination with the technical secretariat, to cooperate with all States Parties with regard to the effective implementation of the convention, in addition to the possibility of hosting several international events to promote the objectives of disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction agreements.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs