Head of chemical weapons watchog accepts Nobel Peace Prize

Dec. 10, 2013 at 4:12 PM   |   0 comments

OSLO, Norway, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- Six remaining countries should sign the Chemical Weapons Convention, the head of an international watchdog said Tuesday as he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize.

Ahmet Uzumcu, executive director of the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons, said the international uproar over Syria's use of chemical weapons in its civil war has left the holdouts with "no reasonable defense" against signing the treaty, the Christian Science Monitor reported. Uzumcu spoke at a ceremony in Oslo City Hall in the Norwegian capital as he accepted the award on behalf of the OPCW.

Angola, Egypt, Israel, Myanmar, North Korea and South Sudan have not signed the convention.

"It is my fervent hope that this award will spur on efforts to make the Chemical Weapons Convention a truly universal norm," Uzumcu said. "We cannot allow the tragedy that befell the people of Ghouta to be repeated," speaking of the Aug. 21 attack in Syria.

Thorbjorn Jagland, head of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, criticized the United States and Russia. The two countries failed to meet an April 2012 deadline for neutralizing their remaining chemical armories.

While the other Nobel prizes are awarded in Sweden, Alfred Nobel's will specified the Peace Prize be awarded by a committee selected by the Norwegian Parliament.

OPCW was something of a surprise choice this year. This year is the 20th anniversary of the Chemical Weapons Convention. The Ghouta attack and Syria's agreement to get rid of its chemical weapons brought the treaty new publicity.

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