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Remarks by Foreign Minister Urmas Paet at the High Level Meeting to mark the Tenth Anniversary of the CWC

27.09.2007

New York, 27 September 2007

Mr Chairman, Secretary General,
Excellencies, honoured guests,

Thank you for convening this high-level meeting. At the outset, I would like to associate myself with the statement made by Portugal on behalf of the European Union.

Mr Chairman,

It is a remarkable fact that the Chemical Weapons Convention has been ratified by 182 countries. This extraordinarily high number signifies the importance of the Convention as an example of a successful multilateral arms control instrument. We hope that the last countries remaining outside the Convention would take a firm decision to eliminate chemical weapons from their arsenal, and in this respect I appreciate the positive signals received from some of them.

We welcome the fact that an increasing number of countries have implemented all the necessary domestic measures related to the control of chemical weapons. I would also encourage countries that have not yet achieved full implementation to do so as soon as possible.

In addition to the requirements of the Convention, it is equally important to implement the UN Security Council Resolution 1540.

The countries that are still in the process of building up a control regime called for in the resolution can and should make full use of international cooperation and the experience available. The positive experience of my own country, Estonia, confirms this. When creating our national export control system at the beginning of 1990’s, we greatly benefited from the support of our international partners.

The European Union has substantially contributed to the efforts to achieve fully the goals of the Convention.  The joint actions in support of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons are one of the EU priorities in this field.

As we have all agreed, we expect that by 2012 all parties of Chemical Weapons Convention will have completely destroyed their stockpiles of chemical weapons.  Here I would also like to take the opportunity to commend Albania as the first country to completely and verifiably destroy all its chemical weapons.

Mr. Chairman,

Universal adherence is a key to the effectiveness of the Convention. But we must also ensure that the Convention will be able to keep up with technological development. Equally, preventing access to chemical weapons by terrorists remains one of our highest priorities.

The second Chemical Weapons Convention review conference in 2008 should supply answers to these questions. Therefore I would like to conclude by encouraging all states to look for ways of ensuring the continued relevance and effectiveness of the Convention.


Thank you very much!

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