Volume. 11873

Israel should join chemical arms treaty: OPCW
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c_330_235_16777215_0___images_stories_edim_01_israel99a(1).jpgIsrael, Egypt, and North Korea should renounce chemical weapons, especially after Syria joined the convention banning them and three other nations plan to do so, the chief of an international watchdog said on Tuesday.
Ahmet Uzumcu, the head of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), said Angola, Myanmar, and South Sudan were preparing to join the pact.
"Now since Syria has become a member country, I think (Israel) can reconsider," Uzumcu told Reuters in Oslo, where he accepted the 2013 Nobel award for the OPCW.
Israel, which has observer status at the OPCW, signed the convention in 1993, but has never ratified it.
As with its presumed nuclear arsenal, Israel has never publicly admitted having chemical weapons. 
The OPCW's mission gained critical importance this year after a sarin gas attack outside Damascus in August killed hundreds of people, exacerbating a 2-1/2-year-old conflict in Syria in which more than 100,000 have died.
Syria then agreed under a deal arranged by the United States and Russia to destroy all of its 1,300 metric tons of sarin, mustard gas and other lethal agents, averting U.S. missile strikes.
"The only consolation is that those attacks led to renewed efforts by the international community to eliminate them," Uzumcu said, referring to chemical weapons around the world.
Recalling the “burning, blinding and suffocating” horrors of chemical weapons, the head of the watchdog trying to consign them to history accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on Tuesday.
Uzumcu said such toxic tools of warfare have an “especially nefarious legacy,” from the trenches of World War I to the poison gas attacks in Syria this year.
“You cannot see them. You cannot smell them. And they offer no warning for the unsuspecting,” Uzumcu said as he collected the $1.2 million award in Oslo on behalf of the group.
The OPCW was formed to enforce a 1997 international convention outlawing chemical weapons. 
The Nobel Peace Prize was announced on Oct. 11, just days before Syria officially joined the OPCW as its 190th member state.

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