Marking the 10th anniversary of the global treaty against chemical weapons, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today stressed that genuine disarmament can be accomplished through United Nations-backed cooperation. The entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention on 29 April 1997 “was a milestone in international efforts to achieve a world free of chemical weapons,” Mr. Ban told a high-level meeting to celebrate the pact’s decade-long existence. “The Convention stands as a monument to the world’s determination to eliminate one of the most inhumane weapons ever conceived.” He stressed that the treaty is the first to be negotiated fully within a multilateral forum, and that “real disarmament is possible through collective action within the framework of the United Nations.” The world’s support for disarmament and the ban on chemical weapons is growing, and the 182 States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention represent 98 per cent of the global population, the Secretary-General said. Many key States have not ratified the Convention, he said, urging their adherence to the agreement. “Instead of competing in a race to acquire more arms, we must all work together in a race to achieve full universal membership of the chemical weapons treaty.” Mr. Ban paid tribute to the successful verification of the destruction of chemical weapons stockpiles by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. The Organisation has demonstrated that international verification is not only possible, it can be undertaken without compromising national security or corporate secrets, he said. “The lesson is that international verification is beneficial, both to the security of all States and to legitimate commerce. As disarmament advances, the world advances.” He also pledged his support to promote the Convention’s full implementation and to push for a world free from chemical weapons. Today’s high-level meeting was convened by Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen and Polish Foreign Minister Anna Fotyga. 27 September 2007Marking the 10th anniversary of the global treaty against chemical weapons, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today stressed that genuine disarmament can be accomplished through United Nations-backed cooperation.