Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, the director-general of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), recently visited Australia to meet with leaders of various agencies to discuss continued efforts to prevent the use of chemical weapons.
“Every science holds the potential for great progress, and great destruction,” Üzümcü said during his keynote address at the 17th Asian Chemical Congress in Melbourne. “One need only reflect on the brutality unleashed by chemical weapons to confront this difficult truth.”
Üzümcü emphasized to attendees that the responsibility to stop the use of chemical weapons lies with industry and civil society in addition to governments.
“Although norms are powerful, they can change,” Üzümcü said. “In this case of chemical weapons, we must never allow this to happen”.
The director-general also briefed leaders on current issues, discussed OPCW’s current approach and participated in roundtable discussions at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Australian National University and the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI).
Üzümcü also visited the Australian War Memorial and the Defense Science and Technology Group (DST Group) and met with the Secretary of Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Assistant Secretary of the Australian Safeguards and Non-proliferation Office (ASNO) and various Australian academics and scientists.