Symposium discusses chemical weapons ban in Yemen [Archives:2006/1007/Front Page]

December 14 2006

Mohammed bin Sallam
SANA'A, Dec. 13 ) Attendees at a three-day symposium at the Taj Sheba Hotel discussed the role of national organizations in implementing an international treaty Yemen signed in 1993 and Parliament ratified in 2000 prohibiting production, storage and/or use of chemical and biological weapons in Yemen.

The Dec. 10-12 symposium was conducted by the National Committee for the Prohibition of Chemical, Biological and Toxic Weapons, in collaboration with the Netherlands-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Experts reviewed how the treaty should be implemented nationally and the need to provide the national committee information regarding Yemen's chemical and industrial institutions, which come under the treaty, together with information on transferring both scheduled and unscheduled chemicals. The national committee also should know the privileges the treaty's member nations enjoy.

An intensive training course regarding the legal and technical aspects of industrial and chemical activities and the means of verification according to the treaty also was part of the symposium. It addressed how to inspect select institutions, as well as the national committee's role in dealing with inspection teams from the Dutch-based international weapons prohibition group.

Several legal experts presented a visualization of a draft law involving implementing the treaty nationally, making it the guide to direct the national committee and assist it when dealing with the international organization in the Netherlands.

Representatives from the Chamber of Commerce, the Yemeni Manufacturers Association and those trading in chemical materials attended the symposium, as well as military experts and representatives from the oil and gas sectors.

In a statement to the Yemen Times, Qasim Abdulsallam Al-Shaibani, coordinator and deputy chairman of the national committee, said, “This committee's future tasks include collecting information about biological and chemical production institutions, which are relative to the treaty. The committee also engages in sorting out toxic and biological materials that can be used to produce weapons.”

He continued, “We'll also supervise the import and trade of biological and chemical materials used for peaceful purposes, as well as establish restraints for their use in a way that doesn't harm Yemen's economic development. Further, we'll enhance national capabilities to face any potential effects if such weapons are used or when infectious diseases spread among humans, animals or plants.”

Concluding his statement, Qasim declared, “Our nation will meet the treaty's obligations because this is Yemen's policy, which supports peaceful coexistence between nations and resolving disputes peacefully apart from biological and chemical weapons threats.”