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IAEA Director General Greets Launch of Chemical Weapon Convention, Sees Useful Synergy Between International Verification Bodies

1997/07

The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Dr. Hans Blix, this week welcomed the coming into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) as a further step towards a world that is gradually being freed from weapons of mass destruction.

Addressing the First Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the CWC in the Hague on 8 May, Dr. Blix noted that the IAEA for some 30 years had been the only international organization performing on-site verification of arms control commitments. With the deepening of detente, there had been a shift in the 1990s from bilateral to multileral arms control regimes, exemplified by the CWC and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

He observed that experience gained by the IAEA -- positive and negative -- had been of interest in drafting the CWC and structuring its Secretariat. He was sure that the ability of the CWC Organization to effectively verify compliance with undertakings under the Convention would both contribute to the strengthening of a broader international regime to prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and contribute to confidence about their elimination.

Dr. Blix suggested that, beyond routine administrative contacts among international verification bodies, there was potential benefit from identifying areas where exchange of experience and cooperation could foster increased effectiveness and efficiency: whereas some types of verification were very specialized, certain verification techniques and challenges were generic to many of the systems in operation or in prospect. As examples he cited the problem of ambiguous "dual use" equipment; the authority for and organization of on-site inspections; use of remote monitoring equipment; the management of airborne reconnaissance; and the interpretation of overhead imaging.

The Director General concluded by mentioning that the IAEA itself was poised to embark on a much expanded collection and analysis of information designed to improve its capacity to detect the presence of possible undeclared nuclear activities: the IAEA Board of Governors is expected to adopt, at a special meeting in Vienna May 15-16, a Model Protocol additional to existing Safeguards Agreements which - once accepted by States - will provide the Agency with complementary legal authority to implement a range of significant new verification measures.

The full text of the Director Genreal's speech is available on the IAEA's Internet site Statements and from the Division of Public Information in Vienna (fax: 43 - 1 - 206029616)

Last update: 16 Feb 2018

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