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Bildt: all nations must sign chem weapons ban

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Bildt: all nations must sign chem weapons ban
14:45 CEST+02:00
Sweden's Foreign Minister Carl Bildt welcomed the Nobel Peace Prize award to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on Friday by calling for all nations to sign up to the convention to eliminate chemical weapons.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee announced on Friday that the Hague-based OPCW had been chosen for "its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons".

"Disarmament figures prominently in Alfred Nobel's will. The Norwegian Nobel Committee has through numerous prizes underlined the need to do away with nuclear weapons. By means of the present award to the OPCW, the Committee is seeking to contribute to the elimination of chemical weapons."

Ahmet Üzümcü, the OPCW's Director General, said the award was "overwhelming" and that staff had been "very moved" when rung by the Nobel Prize organisation.

"I think the Nobel Peace Prize will give a new impetus and encouragement," he added. "It is a great incentive to our staff who are working in the Secretariat and who are deployed in Syria."

The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) was adopted in Geneva on September 3rd 1992 by the Conference on Disarmament. The treaty outlaws the production, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons and is administered by the OPCW.

Some 188 states are party to the treaty, two signatories are yet to ratify, and five states have neither signed nor acceded to the convention.

For the fifth year running the news of the prize winner, which carries a $1.25m reward, was leaked to the Norwegian media an hour ahead of Friday's scheduled announcement.

The Committee has come in for criticism in recent years for awards some argued were contrary the will of Swedish industrialist, inventor and arms manufacturer Alfred Nobel, the prize's founder, most notably those to Europe in 2012 and to Barack Obama in 2009.

The OPCW will be awarded the prize, along with the $1.25m in prize money, in Oslo on December 10th, the anniversary of Nobel's death.

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