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Today marks the twentieth anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention, and the EU renews its strong support to this successful international disarmament instrument that has helped the world to take steps for the full and complete eradication of an entire category of weapons of mass destruction. This is also an occasion to call on all States not yet party to the Convention to ratify or accede to it without delay and unconditionally. The world should have already got rid of such horrifying means.
What happened in the town of Khan Sheikhoun on 4 April 2017, with its horrific consequences, causing the death and injuries of scores of civilians including children and relief workers, reminds us once again of the importance of the full observance of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the important role of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
We reiterate our appreciation for the OPCW, the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013 laureate, and its dedicated staff for their work, very often in very challenging circumstances. The EU Member States which account for 40% of the OPCW annual budget and the EU through significant contributions have supported its core activities and specific operations.
More than one hundred years after the first massive use of them, chemical weapons, including of toxic chemicals, are still used against people who can have no escape from them. We reiterate our strong condemnation of the use of chemical weapons anywhere, at any time, by anyone, under any circumstances. We are fully committed to countering the re-emergence of chemical weapons and the evolving threat of chemical weapons falling into the hands of terrorist groups or other non-state actors, to eradicating non-state actors' possession of such weapons, and to ensuring full accountability for any State or non-state actor which use them.