Indonesia Calls for the Use of Chemicals for Peaceful Purposes

Ambassador I Gusti Agung Wesaka Puja as Indonesian Permanent Representative for the OPCW in the Conference of Member States of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)

Den Haag, Netherlands: Indonesia calls for the strengthening of international cooperation in the use of chemicals for peaceful purposes. This was conveyed by Ambassador I Gusti Agung Wesaka Puja, Indonesian Permanent Representative for the OPCW, in the Conference of Member Countries of the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) (28/11).

In addition to the destruction of chemical weapons, strengthening the cooperation is considered very important, especially for developing countries to advance the national chemical industry. This has been confirmed in the Chemical Weapons Convention.

"The Chemical Weapons Convention not only regulates the destruction of chemical weapons, currently owned by some countries, but also affirms the importance of using chemicals for peaceful purposes, such as research, trade and the development of the chemical industry,"​ Puja continued.

It is mentioned that Indonesia remains committed to support the program in which participants from different countries can share their expertise and experience. "This year, there are 3 capacity building activities held in Indonesia for the cooperation of OPCW and Indonesia, namely integrated chemicals management workshop in Jakarta in March 2017, training of aid and protection in Bali in May 2017, and chemical industry apprenticeship program for three weeks in an Associate Program scheme in one of the chemical companies in Karawang in September 2017 ", she added.

Indonesia also concerns to the capacity building program in incidents handling which involve chemicals. Indonesia appreciated the visit of the Director General of OPCW to Jakarta last July, which resulted in several agreements of OPCW cooperation with Indonesia in the field of capacity building.

The visit also discussed the discourse of the center of excellence development or the center of enhancement of the capability of the Chemical Weapons Convention in ASEAN with the Permanent Representatives of ASEAN countries and their dialogue partners

ASEAN is considered as an important and strategic partner for OPCW on issues of disarmament and non-proliferation of chemical weapons. This is shown by the declaration of chemical weapons, which has been agreed by the leaders of East Asia Summit countries in Manila on November 16. "This visit demonstrates the importance of Indonesia and ASEAN in a global effort to combat chemical weapons while enhancing the cooperation of chemical use for peaceful purposes," Puja said.

Addressing the development of the use of chemical weapons by terrorist groups (ISIS), Puja stated that the OPCW and its member countries should step up their collective efforts to strengthen cooperation on security issues.

"OPCW should be able to address today's global challenges, including the use of chemical weapons by non-state actors, which are now increasingly threatening for international peace and security," Puja said.

In the conference attended by 192 member states, Puja also highlighted some cases of chemical weapons use. "The use of chemical weapons in Khan Shaykhun on April 4, for example, is a violation of international law and the Chemical Weapons Convention."

Considering the complex situation happened in Syria, Indonesia continues to encourage Fact Finding Mission (FFM) to keep conducting its inspections and checks on the use of chemical weapons everywhere, including in Syria. "It is important for FFM to work impartially and objectively in order to produce a comprehensive and solutive recommendation for solving the problem of using chemical weapons in Syria", Puja added.

The Conference of OPCW member countries is still ongoing until now and will end on December 1, 2017. On that occasion, Indonesia nominated as a member of OPCW Executive Board for the period 2018-2020. (Source: Indonesian Embassy in Den Haag)