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  • Author: Jean Pascal Zanders
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: Since the chemical weapons (CW) attacks on the Ghouta district just outside Damascus on 21 August, political developments have taken several unexpected twists leading Syria to become the 190th party to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). Russia and the United States reached agreement on a framework for the dismantlement of Syria's chemical warfare capacity, in which the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) as well as the United Nations will play central roles. Western threats of military force – although they undeniably contributed to Syria's acceptance of the deal – have receded for the time being. And while the deferral of international justice regarding the Ghouta strikes will frustrate many parties, the emphasis on disarmament may actually open up the prospect of a negotiated end to the conflict.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, International Law, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Jean Pascal Zanders, Richard Guthrie, Cindy Vestergaard, Ralf Trapp, Yasemin Balci
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: At the 17 th Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) held in November 2012, the subject generating the most debate concerned the place of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in CWC meetings and whether their role should be rather passive (i.e. 'attend') or be characterised by more active involvement (i.e. 'participate'). The latter option would allow them to address States Parties at meetings or organise side events within (rather than outside) the conference building. Addressing one of the core functions of the disarmament treaty, Libya, Russia and the United States reported in detail on progress and issues affecting the destruction of their respective chemical weapon (CW) stockpiles. Despite the fact that all three countries had missed the ultimate destruction deadline of April 2012, no state raised its flag to comment, question or protest about the delays. When the negotiators of the CWC concluded their business in September 1992 and decided to forward the treaty text to the UN General Assembly (UNGA) for assent, missing the destruction deadlines was universally viewed as one of the worst possible breaches of the CWC. In practice, a robust verification regime combined with permanent in - formation sharing, voluntary transparency beyond the requirements in the Convention, and dialogue over the years yielded commonly approved decisions to extend the destruction deadlines with strict monitoring and reporting requirements. Confident that the holders of the three largest declared CW stockpiles have no malicious intent, States Parties can continue with the implementation of all dimensions of the CWC without recriminations or deadlock.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, International Cooperation, International Law, International Organization, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Libya