Last Wednesday, 25 September, I announced that the Government will make a voluntary contribution of €200,000 in support of the destruction of chemical weapons in Syria. This funding will be provided to the trust fund established by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons for that purpose. The practical implementation of the framework agreement brokered by the US and Russia on the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons is to be the responsibility of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. The OPCW is the body established by the Chemical Weapons Convention to oversee its implementation. This is a substantial contribution and it reflects both our commitment to ensuring that Syria’s chemical weapons can never again be used, against Syrians or anybody else, and our long-standing commitment to a world free of weapons of mass destruction.
Although the OPCW needs resources immediately to begin the process, the full picture of what is needed will become clearer in the coming days. Implementing the detailed destruction plan, which is to be finalised by 15 November, will clearly require substantial additional resources for the OPCW. Inspection activities to determine the full extent of the challenge and to inform the destruction plan began yesterday. The Government is open to the possibility of providing further assistance, either financial or practical, if it is within our means to do so.