OSLO: When the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) receives the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo on Tuesday its staff will be preparing to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal.
In naming the OPCW as the 2013 peace laureate on October 11, the Norwegian Nobel Committee highlighted the organization’s role as a rare example of successful global disarmament.
The chemical watchdog was officially given the prize for its efforts around the world, but the award came at a time when all eyes were on Syria after a nerve gas attack killed hundreds on the outskirts of Damascus on August 21.
OPCW Director Ahmet Uzumcu will be handed the award just weeks before a plan to destroy Damascus’ chemical weapons stockpile gets under way.
According to a United States-Russia deal that headed off possible US military strikes against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, Syria is to get rid of its arsenal of 1,290 tons of chemical weapons by mid-2014.
The most lethal components are to be moved out of Syria before December 31 to be destroyed aboard the US Navy’s MV Cape Ray, a 200-meter cargo ship equipped with two hydrolysis systems.