15 – 18 March  and 23 March 2016

Mr Chairperson,
Excellency the Director-General,
Ladies and gentlemen,

At the outset, it is my pleasure to extend my profuse thanks to Mr Chairperson for his commendable efforts and express our full trust in his ability to steer this session to a fruitful conclusion. I also thank H.E. the Director-General of the OPCW, his aides and the Technical Secretariat staff for their great efforts.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia reiterates its commitment to the Chemical Weapons Convention. Its interest in the implementation of the Convention at the national and international levels is in fact an extension of its policy aimed at contributing effectively to efforts to ban all weapons of mass destruction and prevent their proliferation in the whole world, particularly in the Middle-East. In this respect, I wish to mention that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia 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 the promotion of international cooperation for protection against such 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 of the hazards of these materials, whether

due to incidents, accidents or criminal causes. This mandate 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 also attached importance to relevant international events through its membership in the Executive Council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. In this connection, it has organised several workshops, trainings and awareness-raising courses, in cooperation with 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. The 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.

There is no doubt that the failure to complete the destruction of chemical weapons stockpiles is a source of concern for all. We hope that the possessor States will fulfil their obligations as early as possible and will take the measures provided for in the decision by the Conference of the States Parties at its Sixteenth Session. The destruction plans submitted by those States demonstrate their commitment and transparency in this regard. It is indisputable that the early completion of destruction operations will be a turning point in the history of the OPCW and will be in the interest of all. Indeed, this Organisation cannot reach out to wider horizons with respect to its future priorities without effectively concluding the issue of the complete destruction of those stockpiles. In addition, the necessary measures to prevent the re-emergence and proliferation of chemical weapons need to be taken. In this regard, I commend the important role undertaken by the Technical Secretariat of the OPCW in verifying the destruction operations. We must strengthen this role so that the Technical Secretariat can keep performing at the required level.

The use of chemical weapons under any circumstances cannot be tolerated. It is abhorrent, reprehensible and is condemned in the strongest terms as it violates the moral and legal norms of the international community.

My country’s delegation has viewed the report by the Director-General on the work of the Declaration Assessment Team regarding the declaration and related submissions by Syria. My country’s delegation voices its serious concern over the increasing evidence in the report regarding the Syrian regime concealing information relative to its chemical programme, in particular with respect to the production of sarin and VX nerve gas. Sample analysis results

have proved that these agents were present in sites that had not been declared before as having been used for chemical weapons production. In this respect, we encourage the Technical Secretariat to continue its efforts to obtain the requested information in order to remove the ambiguity and clear discrepancy in the Syrian declaration data.

Further, we wish to refer to the repeated and continuing use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people, which represents a serious violation of the OPCW treaty. We have also viewed the first report of the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism. In this respect, we encourage the Investigative Mechanism to continue working until those responsible for the barbarous and unscrupulous chemical weapons attacks against the Syrian people are punished

and brought before international justice.

With regard to the remaining chemical weapons in Libya, we emphasise the need for urgent and appropriate decisions to be taken in order to prevent these weapons from falling into the hands of terrorist organisations, especially given that these are close to the locations of the said weapons, and that delay will only increase the risks that those weapons might fall into the hands of these organisations and be used against civilians.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is making every possible effort to support activities under Article VII of the Convention and is holding numerous workshops and training courses. 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 the States that are able to do so, to other States Parties, as needed and upon request.

We hope that the OPCW will increase and intensify its activities in developing States that need training courses for their personnel on the hazards of chemical weapons. The Convention stresses the importance of economic and technological development as well as international cooperation in chemical activities for purposes not prohibited thereunder. We believe 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 the 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 field. This would be beneficial for all parties. Also, my country’s delegation supports the holding of a workshop to review and assess the work done in the implementation of Article XI and to identify existing gaps in order to pave the way for a methodical and pragmatic implementation of this Article.

In conclusion, I should like to mention that, as part its policy of support for the OPCW and its various bodies, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has recently made a financial voluntary contribution to the Scientific Advisory Board in support of its activities and efforts.

Thank you for your attention.