Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja welcomes the fact that a Finnish enterprises will be able to participate in the activities of the United Nations and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to dismantle the Syrian chemical weapons programme. This chemical destruction programme is noteworthy from the perspective of international cooperation and security.
The agreement between the OPCW and the Finnish waste treatment plant Ekokem Oy is being signed today, 14 February. Ekokem will be one of the plants destroying chemicals belonging to the Syrian chemical weapons programme. The joint mission of the OPCW and the United Nations overseeing the destruction is a common effort of the international community.
The success of the Finnish company in the OPCW's competitive bidding shows confidence in Ekokem's expertise as a handler of hazardous waste. The destruction programme, conducted on a commercial basis, takes place in accordance with each participating country's legislation and safety and environmental standards. The destruction of Syria's chemical weapons programme is overseen by a joint mission of the OPCW and the UN.
Located in The Hague, the OPCW has the best international expertise in chemical weapons and their destruction. A significant part of the Syrian programme is handled and destroyed in commercial waste processing plants in accordance with decisions by the OPCW. What is involved here is the destruction of chemicals and waste specified by the OPCW, not of chemical weapons proper.
Finland strongly supports the joint OPCW-UN mission. Finland has, among other things, granted a total of 650,000 euros in funding for the OPCW's two Syria funds. In addition, a Finnish protection troop is participating in the sea transport operation being carried out by Denmark and Norway.
Additional information: Deputy Director General Timo Kantola, Political Department tel. +358 295 351 477
Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Press Release 40/2014 14.2.2014 15.43