Angola joins UN chemical arms watchdog

THE HAGUE: Angola on Friday joined the UN chemical arms watchdog meaning only four countries remain, including Israel and North Korea, which have not signed the convention prohibiting such weapons, the organisation said.


“Angola’s accession to the convention brings this important treaty a further step towards complete universality,” said Ahmet Uzumcu, director-general of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

The OPCW, which won the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize for its work, welcomed Angola’s adhesion to the body as the 192nd member.

“I hope this will encourage those countries which remain outside the convention to join the global consensus against chemical weapons,” said Uzumcu.

Egypt, Israel, North Korea and South Sudan are the last four countries which have not joined the convention.

Angola now has 60 days within which to declare whether it possesses any chemical weapons or not.

Member countries pledge not to make, stockpile or use chemical weapons and can be subjected to inspections of suspect sites with little advance warning.

The OPCW has been supervising the removal of chemical arms stockpiles from Syria under a deal struck in 2013 between Russia and the United States following an attack allegedly using sarin gas close to Damascus in August 2013.

A UN panel is currently investigating continued chlorine gas attacks in Syria, blamed by the West on the government forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.