Four years ago we gathered here in Paris to call upon the Conference on Disarmament to redouble its efforts to conclude its negotiations on a chemical weapon convention.
The first attempt to rid the world of the scourge of poison gas was done in the Hague in 1899. It did not prevent the abhorrence of chemical warfare spreading widely during the first World War. The second attempt was the adoption of the 1925 Geneva Protocol, it did not prevent the use of chemical weapons in the Iran-Iraq war. Nor did it prevent the accumulation of huge devastating arsenals of chemical weapons in the world.
The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction is not a third attempt, it is the solution, we owe it to the victims of this ghastly warfare - from Ypres to Halabja.
The Convention contains all the elements that enhance security: transparency, confidence building, disarmament, non-proliferation and verification. Moreover, it treats all nations alike in a non-discriminatory manner.
The active support that the Convention received in the United Nations General Assembly as well as the number of countries present here today augurs well for the universality of this Convention. To those who are not here we should send a message urging them to sign the Convention at the earliest opportunity.
This Convention will establish the international norm on chemical weapons against which the performance of all nations will be judged. Its early entry into force is therefore of utmost political importance. We urge all countries to consider the ratification of the Convention as a matter of priority. Finland for its part will do so.
The benefits to global and regional security by the Convention will largely depend on the success of the work of the preparatory commission. Finland will participate in it fully. Particularly we will give our contribution in the fields of verification and training.
During twenty years of research Finland has acquired a high level of expertise in analytical verification methods for chemical disarmament. The results of this research have been shared in full with the internationl community through the Blue Book series. This work vill continue.
Three years ago Finland started a training programme for analytical chemists from developing countries. At present twenty- three chemists from sixteen countries have received hands-on training in laboratory methods for four months. Finland will offer these courses to be included in the overall training programme of the organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
Years of arduous negotiation are behind us. Let us now embark on the implementation of the Convention. The Chemical Weapons convention must take its place as an important element of international security.