Today marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). For a quarter of a century, the United States has worked with its Allies and partners to help rid the world of chemical weapons and deter their use by anyone, anywhere, and under any circumstances. Our collective goal is to exclude completely the possibility of the use of chemical weapons, which are abhorrent tools of war. On this anniversary, we renew our commitment to upholding the CWC and note the Convention’s important role in contributing to U.S. national security. Unfortunately, this anniversary reminds us that the world continues to be threatened by the specter of these weapons.
In recent years, the world has witnessed chemical weapons use that challenges the CWC’s core prohibitions: by the Assad regime and ISIS in Syria, by Russian government operatives against the Skripals in the UK and Aleksey Navalny in Russia, and by the DPRK against Kim Jong Nam in Malaysia. Syria remains in noncompliance with the CWC, and we will continue to work to hold the Assad regime accountable for its repeated use of chemical weapons against its own people. We will also continue our efforts to hold the Kremlin accountable for its noncompliance with the CWC, repeated use of chemical weapons, and ongoing efforts to shield the Assad regime from accountability for its CW use. Further, we have made very clear that the Russian government would face profound consequences were it to use chemical weapons in Ukraine.
Despite these challenges, the Convention, which President Biden has championed since his time in the U.S. Senate, has shown time and again its utility, demonstrated by the commitment of the majority of States Parties to compliance and their willingness to take actions to uphold it and hold accountable those who violate it.