Joint statement by Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bolivia, Burundi, China, Comoros, Congo, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Russian Federation, State of Palestine, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Zimbabwe at the Fourth review conference of the chemical weapons convention, the Hague, November 30, 2018
We, the States Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (CWC), committed to achieving the goal of freeing the world of chemical weapons, strongly condemn the use of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere and under any circumstances.
We commend the contribution made by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to freeing the world from that type of weapons of mass destruction.
We emphasize that integrity and comprehensive universality of the CWC are of critical importance for achieving the object and the purpose of the Convention and maintaining international peace and security.
We consider the inviolability of the fundamental CWC provisions, as well as the operating principles of the OPCW, its principal and executive bodies, such as the Conference of the States Parties (the CSP), the Executive Council and the Technical Secretariat of the OPCW, to be an indispensable prerequisite for ensuring further effective functioning of the OPCW as one of the most successful multilateral mechanisms in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
We note with concern that the decision of the Fourth Special Session of the Conference entitled “Addressing the Threat from Chemical Weapons Use” (C-SS-4/DEC.3, dated 27 June 2018) which was adopted by vote, and the corresponding implementing measures of the Technical Secretariat may have a direct impact on the fundamental principles and provisions of the Convention and its Verification Annexes.
The disunity among the States Parties to the CWC due to the politicization of the problem of the use of chemical weapons significantly reduces the efficiency of our Organization’s work, as it prevents us from focusing on common and genuinely pressing tasks that are set out in the Convention and have been successfully performed for many years.
We emphasize the imperative to ensure transparency, non-discrimination and fair geographical representation in the process of recruitment of OPCW Technical Secretariat staff and experts while preserving continuity of accumulated expertise and specific knowledge.
We call for dialogue and consultations among States Parties to bridge their division and address their disagreements, so as to arrive at consensus on matters of substance as far as possible. We also believe that in order to better safeguard the integrity of the Convention and preserve the solidarity of the OPCW, it is necessary to explore the possibility of improving the Rules and Procedures of the Conference of States Parties.
We reiterate the commitment of the States Parties not to maintain among themselves any restrictions, including those in any international agreements, incompatible with the obligations under the CWC, which would restrict or impede trade and the development and promotion of scientific and technological knowledge in the field of chemistry for industrial, agricultural, research, medical, pharmaceutical or other peaceful purposes.