[JURIST] Member nations to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) [text] marked the 10th anniversary of the accord [OPCW materials] at an unveiling of a memorial dedicated to chemical warfare victims at the headquarters of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) [official website] in the Netherlands on Wednesday. Member states pledged to refocus attempts to persuade North Korea and Middle Eastern nations to join the treaty, as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a video message [transcript]
With it, we remember the unspeakable horror endured by victims of chemical weapons. And we vow that their pain will never be forgotten by present and future generations...As we do, we pledge to redouble our efforts to achieve universal membership of the Chemical Weapons Convention, and to free the world from chemical weapons. I call on those States that have not yet ratified or acceded to the Convention to do so without delay.In October, OPCW Director-General Rogelio Pfirter [official profile] urged [JURIST report] North Korea and several Middle Eastern to join the CWC and destroy their weapon stockpiles.
So far 182 nations [OPCW list] have signed on to the convention since it entered into force in 1997. Under the convention, banned weapons, including nerve and mustard gases, must be destroyed by June 2007, though countries may apply for a five-year extension. Another six countries [OPCW list], Israel among them, have signed the convention but have not yet ratified, leaving seven countries [OPCW list] that have not signed, including North Korea, Iraq, and Syria. AP has more. The UN News Service has additional coverage.