The Foreign Ministry’s Assistant Undersecretary for Political Affairs and Chairman of the International Organizations Department Prince Torki bin Muhammad bin Saud Al-Kabeer, who also chairs the national commission for implementation of the UN convention on the prohibition of chemical weapons, opened a regional workshop in Riyadh today for the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Addressing the three-day event, Prince Torki said the agreement to dismantle chemical weapons, which went into force in April 1997, represents a significant landmark on how to get rid of weapons of mass destruction. Saudi Arabia ratified the agreement on August 9, 1996, prior to it going into effect. Endorsed by 155 member states of the United Nations as of October 2003, it is now the most widely-supported international convention.
In accordance with Article (7), the Kingdom formed a commission to implement the agreement at the national level. Prince Torki briefed the gathering on some achievements accomplished by the commission to date, including arranging inspection visits by international officials to a number of factories in the industrial cities of Jubail and Yanbu to ensure that they comply with global chemicals manufacturing standards. He recalled that Saudi Arabia has repeatedly emphasized the importance of making the Middle East a region free of all weapons of mass destruction without exception, noting that Israel nevertheless possesses them.