FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
On behalf of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations I offer my warm congratulations to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and its Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü on being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for helping to rid the world of its stockpiles of deadly chemical weapons.
This most prestigious of awards reflects the international community’s determination to end the threat that chemical weapons pose to people everywhere. Its presentation comes in the wake of the horrific chemical weapons attack perpetrated on August 21 by the Syrian government against neighborhoods near Damascus. Late last month, the international community came together and spoke unanimously and unequivocally through the UN Security Council to require Syria to ensure that its chemical weapons are fully and swiftly destroyed.
In honoring the OPCW’s vision and mandate, the Nobel Committee also honors the inspectors themselves: the men and women who are already working in Syria, who are carrying out OPCW’s mission at grave personal risk. The OPCW’s work in Syria is just beginning, but today we also recall the OPCW’s brave and extensive work for the past 16 years in overseeing the elimination of 80 percent of the world’s declared chemical weapons stocks. Today’s announcement helps put the spotlight on this important work, and the profound suffering caused by the August 21 attack, and those that preceded it, underscores the human stakes of OPCW achieving its mission, and of the world remaining united and vigilant in ridding the earth of deplorable, indiscriminate weapons that should have no place in peace or war.
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