The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the world’s chemical weapons watchdog, was Tuesday presented the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize. OPCW Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu received the prestigious award.
Norwegian Nobel Committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland, speaking at the awards ceremony, praised the OPCW for the achievements the organisation has made since its establishment in 1997.
A total of 190 countries have signed and ratified the Convention on the prohibition of development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons and on their destruction.
Jagland described Syria’s joining the OPCW as “a big step forward”.
Currently in cooperation with UN staff, OPCW inspectors are actively engaged in an operation in Syria to eliminate the chemical weapons arsenal of the war-torn country.
Israel and Myanmar have signed but not ratified the convention, while Angola, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt and South Sudan have neither signed nor ratified the important convention.
Jagland urged the six countries to accede to the convention.
Uzumcu said in a speech that the OPCW has been overseeing the elimination of an entire category of weapons of mass destruction in the past 16 years.
The chemical weapons watchdog has verified the destruction of more than 80 percent of all declared chemical weapons, Uzumcu said.
The OPCW chief also called on the six countries which are still outside the convention to join it without delay or conditions.
Uzumcu had Monday said that the OPCW would use the $1.2-million Nobel Peace Prize money to set up a new award for those who make an outstanding contribution to the realisation of the goals set in the OPCW convention.