“During this visit, I have noted the high level of existing knowledge and expertise in Cuba in the areas of biotechnology and toxicology,” the Director-General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ahmet Üzümcü, said during a press conference.
Cuba has the capacity to provide technical assistance and training to other member countries of the organization, Üzümcü added. The distinguished visitor described his meetings with Miguel Díaz-Canel, member of the Political Bureau and first vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers and the Minister of Science, Technology and Environment (CITMA), Elba Rosa Montoya Pérez, as very fruitful. During the talks, they discussed topics of interest relating to the promotion of the exchange of chemical substances and scientific information for peaceful purposes.
Üzümcü stressed that OPCW member states appreciate and benefit from the support provided by Cuba.
OPCW has been successful in chemical disarmament and now aims to prevent the resurgence of new harmful weapons.
“Our institution promotes educational activities in order to create consciousness and increase sensitivity regarding this issue,” Üzümcü added.
When questioned about delays in the destruction process in certain nations possessing chemical weapons, the director responded that despite delays, these nations are committed to eliminating their weapons, and agreements have been reached with member states of the Convention, as thousands of workers and millions of dollars are required to destroy the chemical weapons.
In the case of Libya and Iraq, they are expected to complete the desruction process shortly. Üzümcü highlighted the success of the mission in Syria, where 98% of chemical weapons were eliminated.
Ahmet Üzümcü said that by 2016, 92% of the lethal substances will have been destroyed, reaffirming the mission of the OPCW, which in 2013 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
In conclusion, he warned against the use of chemical weapons as part of new forms of terrorism and praised Cuba’s ongoing commitment to the Convention.