Communications Centre
Press Releases and Bulletins
UN Chief commends Special Coordinator and her team on successful completion of OPCW-UN Joint Mission

1 October 2014- Following the closure of the OPCW-UN Joint Mission on 30 September 2014, the Secretary-General expressed his deep gratitude to the Special Coordinator, Ms. Sigrid Kaag, as well as all the staff members from both the UN and the OPCW, who worked under difficult and often dangerous conditions to complete the elimination of the declared chemical weapons programme of the Syrian Arab Republic.

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OPCW-UN Special Coordinator meets with United States delegation

Nicosia, 11 July 2014- Ms. Sigrid Kaag, the Special Coordinator for the OPCW-UN Joint Mission met today with a delegation of U.S. officials to discuss progress made with regard to the completion of removal and in-country destruction of Syria's chemical weapons material.

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OPCW-UN Special Coordinator visits Tehran

25 June 2014 - Ms. Sigrid Kaag, the Special Coordinator for the OPCW-UN Joint Mission concluded today a brief visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran. 

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OPCW-UN Joint Mission statement on the complete removal of declared chemical weapons materials

23 June 2014 – The Joint Mission welcomes the removal of the remaining 7.2 per cent of chemical weapons material from the Syrian Arab Republic. With this last movement, the total of declared chemical weapons materials destroyed or removed from Syria has reached 100%. The most operationally challenging task within the effort to eliminate the Syrian chemical weapons programme, has come to an end.

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OPCW-UN Joint Mission press release on the destruction of the Syrian stockpile of Isopropanol

20 May 2014 - The OPCW-UN Joint Mission confirms the destruction of the entire declared Syrian stockpile of Isopropanol. [PDF]

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92.5% of Syria’s chemical weapons material removed or destroyed in-country

24 April 2014 - The OPCW-UN Joint Mission confirms delivery of a further shipment of chemical weapons material. Today’s operation brings the total of chemical material removed and destroyed in country to 92.5%.

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Approximately 80 percent of Syria’s chemical weapons material removed or destroyed in-country

Statement by Sigrid Kaag, Special Coordinator of the OPCW-UN Joint Mission

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72.3% of Syria's chemical materials are removed from or destroyed in country

16 April 2014 - The OPCW-UN Joint Mission confirms that the 15th shipment of chemical material left the port of Latakia today. The overall percentage of chemicals removed from the Syrian Arab Republic or destroyed in the country has now reached 72.3%.

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WHO and OPCW-UN Joint Mission reinforce public health capacities to respond to chemical incidents

13 April 2014 - The OPCW-UN Joint Mission and the World Health Organization (WHO) have been working to strengthen public health capacities within Syrian Arab Republic to respond to risks of chemical exposure.

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OPCW-UN Joint Mission Special Coordinator visits Cairo

8 April 2014 - Ms. Sigrid Kaag, the Special Coordinator of the OPCW-UN Joint Mission concluded a brief mission to Cairo.

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Director-General meets Russian Foreign Minister

24 March 2014 - Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü met today with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Mr Sergey Lavrov, who is in The Hague to attend the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS). 

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OPCW Director-General meets with US Secretary of State

24 March 2014 - Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü met this morning with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who is in The Hague to attend the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS). The meeting was held at the OPCW Headquarters.

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More movement of chemicals out of Syria boosts removals to half of stockpile

20 March 2014 - The OPCW-UN Joint Mission has verified the delivery of another consignment of Priority 1 chemicals today to Latakia and their removal from the port on a cargo ship, raising the amount of Syrian chemicals that are now out of the country to nearly half of the total stockpile.

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Executive Council notes “increasing pace” in moving chemicals out of Syria

7 March 2014 - OPCW-UN Joint Mission verifies nearly 29% of total chemical stockpile has been removed

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Syria submits revised proposal to OPCW for removal of chemicals

4 March 2014 - The Syrian Arab Republic has submitted to the OPCW a revised proposal that aims to complete the removal of all chemicals from Syria before the end of April 2014. 

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OPCW-UN Mission confirms removal of sulphur mustard stockpile from Syria
26 February 2014 - Statement of the Special Coordinator of the Joint Mission Ms. Sigrid Kaag
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OPCW awards contracts to two companies for destruction of Syrian chemicals and Effluents
14 February 2014 - Following a rigorous tendering process, the OPCW Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, announced today that the OPCW has awarded contracts to the following two companies with respect to the Call for Proposals for Transport, Treatment and Disposal of Hazardous and Non-Hazardous Organic and Inorganic Chemicals, Effluents and Related Materials (Reference: CFP# CDB-P14-002):
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Third shipment of chemical weapons leaves the Syrian port of Lattakia
10 February 2014 - A third shipment of chemical weapons material took place from the Syrian Arab Republic today. The material is on board a Norwegian cargo vessel accompanied by a naval escort from the People’s Republic of China, Denmark, Norway, and the Russian Federation. The United Kingdom is participating in the naval escort in international waters. Finland is providing experts onboard the Danish vessel.
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OPCW Director-General calls for new momentum in the removal of Syria's chemical weapons

10 February 2014 - The movement of the third consignment of chemicals from Syria took place today. The Director-General, while noting this movement and the recent destruction of 93 percent of the Isopropanol, has expressed hope that these activities generate new momentum.

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Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü : Need to “Pick Up Pace” In Removing Chemicals from Syria
31 January 2014 - In a meeting of the OPCW Executive Council yesterday, Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü briefed the Council on efforts underway to expedite the process of removing Syrian chemicals that have been identified for destruction outside Syrian territory. 
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Special Coordinator of the OPCW- UN Joint Mission holds consultations in Doha
27 January 2014 - Special Coordinator for the OPCW-UN Joint Mission, Sigrid Kaag visited Doha on 27 January 2014. She met with the Qatari Minister for Foreign Affairs H.E. Dr. Khalid Bin Mohammed Al Attiyah. 
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Further removal of chemical weapons materials from the Syrian Arab Republic
27 January 2014 - A further shipment of chemical weapons materials took place from the Syrian Arab Republic.  The chemical materials were verified by Joint Mission personnel before being loaded in Lattakia port onto Danish and Norwegian cargo vessels for onward transportation.
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Joint Mission facilitates dialogue to discuss environmental issues
27 January 2014 - The OPCW-UN Joint Mission and the OPCW Technical Secretariat (TS) facilitated a dialogue on 16 January 2014 to discuss environmental issues related to the process of transportation of chemical materials from Syria for disposal outside its territory.  The meeting was attended by technical experts from the parties involved in the operation, the Joint Mission, OPCW TS, UNEP, and representatives of Greenpeace, Robin des Bois and the German NGO Forum for the Environment and Economy.
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OPCW receives tenders from 14 private firms to destroy Syrian commodity chemicals and effluents
20 January 2014 - A total of 14 private firms have submitted tenders to destroy 500 metric tonnes of Syria’s commodity chemicals, as well as effluent from the neutralisation of its Priority chemicals, at commercial facilities outside of the Syrian Arab Republic.
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Trans-loading of Syrian chemicals to be undertaken at port of Gioia Tuaro in Italy
16 January 2014 - The OPCW Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, confirmed today that the Italian Government has agreed to allow the port of Gioia Tuaro for priority chemicals brought from Syria by cargo vessels to be trans-loaded onto a U.S. ship, the MV Cape Ray. The port is located on the Mediterranean coast of southern Italy and is specialised in transhipment activities.
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Special Coordinator of the OPCW-UN Joint Mission holds consultations in Riyadh

16 January 2014 - Sigrid Kaag, the Special Coordinator for the OPCW-UN Joint Mission in Syria held consultations in Riyadh with the Government of Saudi Arabia, including His Highness Prince Turki bin Mohammed bin Saud Al-Kabeer, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Multilateral Affairs.

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Germany to Destroy Effluent from Syrian Chemicals

9 January 2014 - The Government of the Federal Republic of Germany has confirmed to the OPCW that it will dispose of 370 metric tonnes of effluent to be generated by the hydrolysis of Syria’s stock of mustard gas aboard the U.S. vessel MV Cape Ray.

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Removal of priority chemicals in Syria marks “important new phase” in work of Joint Mission
8 January 2014 - The Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü informed the OPCW Executive Council today about the commencement of the removal of priority chemicals from Syria for destruction outside the country and described it as “an important new phase” in the work of the OPCW-UN Joint Mission.
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Germany to Destroy Effluent from Syrian Chemicals

9 January 2014 - The Government of the Federal Republic of Germany has confirmed to the OPCW that it will dispose of 370 metric tonnes of effluent to be generated by the hydrolysis of Syria’s stock of mustard gas aboard the U.S. vessel MV Cape Ray.

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Removal of priority chemicals in Syria marks “important new phase” in work of Joint Mission
8 January 2014 - The Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü informed the OPCW Executive Council today about the commencement of the removal of priority chemicals from Syria for destruction outside the country and described it as “an important new phase” in the work of the OPCW-UN Joint Mission.
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Removal of priority chemicals in Syria marks “important new phase” in work of Joint Mission
8 January 2014 - The Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü informed the OPCW Executive Council today about the commencement of the removal of priority chemicals from Syria for destruction outside the country and described it as “an important new phase” in the work of the OPCW-UN Joint Mission.
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Special Coordinator on the first removal of chemical weapons material from Syria

7 January 2013 – The Joint Mission confirms that further progress has been made towards the removal and elimination of the Syrian Arab Republic’s chemical weapons programme. A first quantity of priority chemical materials was moved from two sites to the port of Lattakia for verification and was then loaded onto a Danish commercial vessel today.

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First priority chemicals in Syria transported to Latakia and removed from the country

7 January 2013 - The removal of the first consignment of priority chemicals from the Syrian Arab Republic took place today. The chemicals were transported from two sites and loaded onto a Danish vessel which left the port of Lattakia. The operation was assisted and verified by the OPCW-UN Joint Mission in Syria.

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Special Coordinator expresses gratitude to the Government of Cyprus
27 December 2013 -The Special Coordinator of the OPCW-UN Joint Mission, Ms. Sigrid A. Kaag met today with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Ioannis Kasoulides and expressed her gratitude for the support that the Government of the Republic of Cyprus continues to provide to the Joint Mission.
OPCW Executive Council receives destruction plan for Syrian chemical weapons

18 December 2013 - As requested by the OPCW Executive Council, Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü yesterday submitted to the Council a plan for destroying the Syrian Arab Republic’s chemical weapons outside of the country.  The plan aims to meet a deadline set by the Council to destroy Syria’s priority chemicals by 31 March 2014 and other mostly commodity chemicals by 30 June 2014.

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OPCW Director-General visits Sweden, meets Prime Minister

14 December 2013 - During a two-day visit to Sweden that concluded today, Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü had separate meetings with the Prime Minister, Mr. Fredrik Reinfeldt, and with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Carl Bildt.

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OPCW Director-General holds official meetings with Norwegian Ministers and Parliamentarians

11 December 2013 - OPCW Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü this morning met in Oslo with the Norwegian Prime Minister, Ms Erna Solberg, and with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Borge Brende. He updated them on the work of the OPCW-UN Joint Mission in Syria and discussed options for Norway’s involvement in efforts to eliminate the Syrian chemicals weapons programme.

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Nobel Peace Prize 2013 received by OPCW Director-General

10 December 2013 - Ahmet Üzümcü commends practical, verifiable results of chemical disarmament. - Says that partnerships with science, industry and civil society are key. - Urges states outside the Chemical Weapons Convention to join. - Announces that Prize money will be used to fund annual OPCW awards.

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United States offers to destroy Syria’s priority chemicals
30 November 2013 - OPCW receives expressions of interest from 35 private companies to destroy other Syrian chemicals
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OPCW Director-General: Syria mission reflects a collective commitment

27 November 2013 - Following the issuance of the second monthly progress report regarding the OPCW- UN Joint Mission in Syria, a meeting of the Executive Council of the OPCW was held on 26 November 2013.

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Commercial chemical companies invited to dispose of a significant part of chemicals from Syria
22 November 2013 - In accordance with the decision of the OPCW Executive Council’s adopted on 15 November 2013 which requested the Director-General of the Organisation to explore ‘options for destruction in commercial chemical disposal facilities’ of a range of chemicals declared by Syria, the OPCW has invited commercial chemical disposal firms to convey to it their expressions of interest (EOI).
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OPCW adopts plan for destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons programme in the first half of 2014

15 November 2013 • Most critical chemicals to leave Syria by end of 2013 • Over 60 percent of unfilled warheads and bombs destroyed

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Director-General updates the Executive Council on the work of the OPCW-UN Joint Mission

5 November 2013 - Addressing today the 34th meeting of the Executive Council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü provided an update on the progress made in the OPCW-UN Joint Mission in Syria since the publication of his first report on 25 October 2013.

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Syria completes destruction of chemical weapons production facilities and mixing/filling plants
31 October 2013 - The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-United Nations Joint Mission confirmed today that the government of the Syrian Arab Republic has completed the functional destruction of critical equipment for all of its declared chemical weapons production facilities and mixing/filling plants, rendering them inoperable.
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OPCW completes first round of verification activities in Syria
28 October 2013 - As of 27 October 2013, inspectors of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in the OPCW-UN Joint Mission in Syria completed verification activities at 21 of the 23 chemical weapons related sites declared by Syria.
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Syria submits initial declaration and general plan for destruction of its chemical weapons programme
27 October 2013 - On 23 October 2013, the Syrian Arab Republic submitted to the OPCW its formal initial declaration covering its chemical weapons programme. Syria’s submission is in line with the deadline set by the OPCW Executive Council in its decision of 27 September 2013 requiring a complete initial declaration by 27 October 2014. Such declarations provide the basis on which plans are devised for a systematic, total and verified destruction of declared chemical weapons and production facilities.
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UN Secretary-General, OPCW Chief appoint Sigrid Kaag Special Coordinator

16 October 2013 - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced today the appointment of Sigrid Kaag of the Netherlands as Special Coordinator of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)-United Nations Joint Mission to eliminate the chemical weapons programme of the Syrian Arab Republic.  The appointment has been made in close consultations with OPCW Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü.

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Syria’s accession to the Chemical Weapons Convention enters into force

14 October 2013 - Today, on 14 October 2013, the Chemical Weapons Convention entered into force for the Syrian Arab Republic, making it the 190th State Party to the treaty. Syria deposited its instrument of accession with the United Nations Secretary-General on 14 September.

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OPCW-UN press release [update] on the advance team in Syria

11 October 2013 - The advance team from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Nations has made good progress in verifying the information submitted by the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic on its chemical weapons programme. At the end of the first ten days of operations on the ground the verification teams have inspected three sites and plans are underway for further site visits.

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OPCW deploys second team of inspectors to expand verification and destruction activities in Syria

8 October 2013 - The OPCW Technical Secretariat in The Hague will deploy a second team of inspectors for the mission in Syria that will augment the advance team of OPCW experts, who have been in Syria since 1 October conducting verification and destruction activities. 

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