June 18, 2018

OPCW Director-General Election

 By Roy Lie A Tjam.

Eight Ambassadors are vying for the post of Director General, each of who have been put forward by their respective governments for the post. The candidates come from the following countries: Burkina Faso, Denmark, Hungary, Iraq, Lithuania, Spain, South Korea and Tanzania (candidate withdrew).

HE Ole Moesby, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Denmark.

The following reaction has been received when asked for a one-liner on their country’s candidacy.

Denmark,  HE Ole Moesby, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Denmark to the Kingdom of the Netherlands has high esteem for what OPCW is and stands for.

Ambassador Tibor Tóth.

Denmark has been affiliated with OPCW from the outset onward and has been actively involved with the situation in Syria and Libya.

A top person needs to take the lead in this high-level organization. Obviously, the Danish candidate is the person.

Hungary, Ambassador Tibor Tóth, Executive Secretary Emeritus of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, has been nominated for the OPCW DG post.

He has served the international community in elected multilateral leadership positions on the prohibition of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons for 30 years. His commitment to the OPCW is supported by the fact that as a lead negotiator, he was an architect of the Chemical  Weapons Convention. He served  as head of CTBTO for two terms while it addressed the challenge of nuclear test  by the DPRK.  His leadership experience, knowledge, and stature in the field of WMD prohibition regimes make him an excellent nominee.

South-Korea, the South-Korean candidate has over 10 years of experience in directing UN matters. No doubts, the South Korean candidate holds the best papers to become the OPCW’s next Director-General.

H.E. Ambassador Fernando Arias with Ban Ki-moon.

Spain is deeply committed with disarmament affairs and has worked intensively in the Security Council in order to update the UN Security Council Resolution 1540.

With H.E. Ambassador Fernando Arias’s candidacy for the position of Director-General of the OPCW, Spain wishes to continue contributing to international peace and security.

Tanzania is applauding the great accomplishments of the OPCW thus far, Tanzania desires to share her experience even wider by leading the Organization and contributing to the global endeavor to forever eliminate the use of chemical weapons, which continues to be a threat. Being Party to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and Member of the OPCW since 1998 is a clear testimony that Tanzania is committed to the goals of the Convention.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was established two decades ago after a horrific mustard gas attack in the Iraqi Kurdistan city of Halabja in 1998. This prompted the French First Lady Madam Danielle Mitterrand to urge her husband the French President, H.E. François Mitterrand, to put a plan together that will endeavor to prevent similar attacks from reoccurring.

H.E. Ambassador Saywan Sabir Mustafa Barzani.

A highly interesting and thought-provoking conversation took place at the Iraqi Chancellery in The Hague on June 14, 2017, with H.E. Saywan Sabir Mustafa Barzani, Ambassador of Iraq to the Netherlands. Among the topics discussed was the upcoming OPCW election of a Director-General in the autumn of 2017. However, the Director General-elect will not be taking office until 2018.

H.E. Ambassador Saywan Sabir Mustafa Barzani is the official Iraqi candidate for the position of Director General, due to his exceptional past achievements, expertise and experiences acquired as a diplomat for over 25 years, both in the international arena as well as in Iraq, qualifying him to be a strong contender for the post of OPCW Director-General. Furthermore, Mr. Barzani is a visionary, he can effectively lead an organization like OPCW that has a defined mission, he is someone unafraid to take risks, the OPCW needs someone who is willing to make proposals in order to overcome the problems that lie ahead for the OPCW.

Up until now, Iraq has not held a high-level UN position, however, the New Iraq from 2003 onwards should be perceived positively on the international stage. It would, therefore, be more than appropriate and proper for the Iraqi candidate to be designated for the August office of Director-General of the OPCW. Moreover, Mr. Barzani has had first-hand experience with the impact of chemical attacks and could therefore easily recognize and empathize with the victims’ suffering. So far, it is Iraq and the Middle East in particular that often have been the playing field for chemical weapons attacks.

During the first years of his career, Mr. Barzani was at the helm of the after-war reconstruction scheme of his country, where he was assigned to direct and manage the northern part of Iraq at a time when the country lacked funds, constitution and there was an absence of law and order. Whilst also having to deal with the execution of two conflicting UN resolutions. In 1998 he became Kurdistan’s envoy to France. He subsequently served as Iraq’s Ambassador to Italy, Malta, San Marino, the Netherlands, and UN agencies in Rome. If Mr. Barzani succeeds in becoming Director General, he aspires to make the OPCW be structured in such a manner that it becomes an institution of diplomacy and technology.

The Executive Council of the OPCW is preparing to meet for the eighty-fifth session, which will be held from 11 – 14 July 2017.The agenda for the meeting will decide on the next Director General, should no consensus be reached, then the ballot will produce the outcome.

Mr. Barzzani comes from Erbil Iraq, is married with four children and is fluent in Arabic, English, French, Kurdish, Italian and Persian. He is also a diplomat, a scholar in political science, international relations, diplomacy, and law. Mr. Barzani can be described as a very cordial and hospitable person, and above all, he is an advocate of the Mesopotamian and Iraqi patrimony. Under Barzani’s direction, Iraq has donated a historical statue of a Mesopotamian lion to the WFP in the city of Rome and designed the Iraq Room, the third largest conference hall in the FAO headquarter with Mesopotamian artifact and statues.

Donations of a commemorative monument have also been made to the OPCW by Iraq. For the OPCW’s twentieth anniversary, Ambassador Barzani designed a peace monument, which has been placed in the Iraqi embassy garden, the inauguration of this monument took place on 16th March 2017 by the current Director-General and the Permanents representatives to the OPCW. The Leiden Museum in collaboration with the Iraqi Embassy envisages organizing a mega Mesopotamia exposition in the Netherlands, to be shown in 2017 – 2018.



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