December 2015

Excellency Chairperson,
Excellency Director-General,
Excellencies heads of delegation,
Ladies and gentlemen, members of delegation,


At the outset, I am pleased to congratulate you, Excellency, Ambassador Eduardo Ibarrola-Nicolín of Mexico, on your election as Chairperson of the Twentieth Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention. I am fully confident that your vast expertise and wisdom will help us bring this session’s deliberations to a successful conclusion. I should also like to express my warm thanks to H.E. Ambassador Vesela Mrđen Korać of Croatia for her efforts in chairing the Nineteenth Session of the Conference. I am also pleased to congratulate the elected members of the Bureau. I wish them all success. Also, I should like to express my appreciation and thanks to the Director-General, H.E. Mr Ahmet Üzümcü, his aids and all OPCW staff members for their outstanding efforts.

My country was one of the first States to join international treaties on the prohibition and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and conventions on the prohibition and regulation of hazardous materials and on the promotion of international cooperation for protection against these weapons and materials. Chief among these instruments are the

Chemical Weapons Convention, the Biological Weapons Convention and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has also been one of the first States to adopt regulations to implement these treaties and strengthen the safeguards needed for protecting its nationals and raising their awareness concerning the hazards of these materials, whether due to accidents, incidents or criminal causes. This task has been assigned to the

National Authority for the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological Weapons Convention, in cooperation with other relevant governmental entities and industrial companies.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been participating actively in relevant international events through its membership of the Executive Council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency. In this connection, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has organised several workshops and training and awareness-raising courses in cooperation with the relevant international organisations, as well as with the United Nations and its bodies, including the 1540 Committee of the Security Council, mandated with overseeing the implementation of Security Council resolution 1540 (2004), adopted under Chapter VII. This resolution calls for prohibiting chemical, biological and nuclear weapons and their production materials, and for preventing terrorist and criminal groups from accessing or using such weapons and materials.

The commitment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to these conventions and to their implementation at the national and international levels is an extension of its firm policy of promoting cooperation for the prohibition and non-proliferation of all types of weapons of mass destruction, as a contribution to making the Middle East a zone free of all such

weapons. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia hopes that the international community will support this goal as a legitimate right for peoples in the region and a key pillar for regional and international peace and security. In this respect, we are looking forward to the speedy convening of the international conference for this purpose, which was planned to be held in Helsinki late in 2012 but has since been deferred to a later date. We hope that this conference will be held as early as possible in accordance with the relevant international norms, with a view to serving the interests, security and stability of peoples in the region.

My country’s delegation has examined the report by the Director-General concerning the progress achieved towards the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons, and appreciates the enormous efforts put in by the OPCW and the work and progress achieved in the removal and destruction of Syrian declared chemical weapons in extraordinary circumstances. All this, however, does not alleviate our serious concern over several issues, the most important of

which is the lack of accuracy in the information contained in the Syrian declarations, as, to date, it has not been confirmed 100% that no chemical weapons remain in the possession of the Syrian regime. In this respect, we encourage the Technical Secretariat to continue its efforts to verify the validity and accuracy of the Syrian declarations.

My country’s delegation also welcomes the United Nations Security Council resolution 2235 (2015) establishing a joint UN-OPCW Mission to investigate the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic. In this respect, we call for a firm position to be taken against the perpetrators of the criminal use of chemical weapons, and for bringing them to international justice, especially as chemical weapons continue to be used in the Syrian Arab Republic. In this context, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia wishes to voice its serious concern over the conclusions reached by the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission in its three reports issued in late October 2015, which raises a serious question about the origin and users of these chemical weapons.

In this context, I wish to refer to the Riyadh Declaration issued by the Fourth Summit of South American and Arab States, held in Riyadh on 11 and 12 November 2015. The declaration noted with appreciation the outstanding activities of the OPCW and reaffirmed the provisions of United Nations Security Council resolution 2209 (2015), which condemns the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic, stresses the need for all parties to

the conflict to refrain from using, developing, producing, storing, acquiring or transferring chemical weapons and establishes a Joint Investigative Mechanism to identify and hold to account those responsible for using such weapons.

For the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the failure to complete the destruction of chemical weapons stockpiles is a source of concern for all. The complete destruction by possessor States of their chemical weapons stockpiles is a key objective of the Convention, aiming at the promotion of international security and peace.

 Since the adoption of the Plan of Action for the Universality of the Convention, in October 2003, commendable progress has been achieved in this regard. On this occasion, we welcome Myanmar and Angola, whose adherence to the Convention brings membership of the OPCW to 192 States. This confirms the wide international respect enjoyed by the Convention and the great support for its lofty objectives aiming at protecting humanity from the use or threat of use of chemical weapons. We call again on those States remaining outside  the Convention to adhere thereto as early as possible.

My country’s delegation welcomes the establishment of the Advisory Board for Education and Outreach which will advance the objectives of the OPCW at the scientific and training levels and will play a major role in raising public awareness about chemical weapons and preventing their re-emergence. We hope that members of the Board will be selected based on equitable geographical distribution.

The Convention provides for enhancing economic and technological development as well as international cooperation in chemical activities for purposes not prohibited thereunder. While we appreciate past efforts in this respect, we are of the view that further efforts need to be made urgently in order to meet the requirements of Article XI of the Convention, in particular with respect to transfer to developing States of technology, equipment and expertise in chemical industries not prohibited under the Convention, and removal of barriers imposed by many States in this area. This will help enhance international economic development and will be beneficial for all. In particular, this will help developing countries achieve higher development and productivity rates and move from consumer to advanced knowledge


Also, my country’s delegation calls for further implementation of Article X of the Convention related to the provision of assistance and protection by the OPCW and developed States that are able to do so, to other States parties, as needed and upon request.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is also making every possible effort to support activities related to the implementation of Article VII of the Convention, including through the timely submission of its annual declarations and the holding of several workshops and training courses in coordination with the OPCW. The last such event has been the National

Specialised Workshop on Protection from Hazardous Chemical, Biological, Nuclear and Radiological Materials, which was held this November in Riyadh and was attended by international experts.

In conclusion, I wish to request that this statement be considered as an official document of the Twentieth Session of the Conference of the States Parties and be posted on the OPCW official website.

Thank you for your attention.