June 26, 2019

OPCW Director-General Visits Slovakia

THE HAGUE, the Netherlands – 11 June 2019 – The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), H.E. Mr Fernando Arias, spoke at a conference on global security and visited a specialised Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) training centre during a trip to Slovakia, from 6-7 June.

The Director-General addressed the audience of the 2019 Bratislava Forum, the annual conference of GLOBSEC, a think tank committed to enhancing global security, prosperity and sustainability throughout the world. The event brought together experts, academics and policy-makers to generate new ideas and solutions to pressing security problems.

Speaking at a panel on emerging threats, the Director-General reflected on the history of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), adding that despite the OPCW’s progress toward eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction, an evolving security landscape means that the Organisation is still confronting “an array of challenges”.

He expressed: “Recent violations of the prohibition against chemical weapons and the appearance of significant challenges are indicative of changes in global security. Change, however, requires us to reinforce and adapt our existing tools.

“The OPCW is focused on making certain that the Convention is comprehensively implemented in an evolving threat environment. To respond to these challenges, we will need to operate on multiple fronts, which will necessitate a holistic approach to our activities, heightened vigilance, and enhanced preparedness. Accordingly, dialogue and cooperation, among the Organisation’s Member States is now required more than ever.”

In Bratislava, the Director General held separate meetings with the State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic František Ružička, and the State Secretary of the Ministry of Economy, Mr Ratislav Chovanic.

The Director-General further travelled to Zemianske Kostoľany to visit the CBRN Training and Testing Centre – a specialised facility that allows first responders to enhance preparedness for dealing with emergencies involving chemical weapons and toxic chemical substances.

During an award ceremony, the Director-General handed out certificates to OPCW inspectors who had completed a Live Agent Training Course for Experts. The event was followed by a briefing and tour of the facility.

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