Washington, DC – June 19 – For the third consecutive year, Global Green USA was pleased to host Ambassador Rogelio Pfirter, Director-General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the implementing agency for the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in The Hague, in Washington DC for a series of high-level meetings and presentations. Ambassador Pfirter holds the title of Career Diplomat from Argentina, and prior to his appointment as Director-General in 2002, he served as Director of Nuclear and Security Affairs for the Argentine Foreign Service, Under-Secretary for Foreign Policy, and Ambassador to the United Kingdom.
During his visit, Ambassador Pfirter met with Senator Richard Lugar (R-Indiana) (pictured at right), ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and co-founder of the “Nunn-Lugar” Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Program for eliminating weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet Union and elsewhere; with Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher (D-California), chair of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee who has been nominated as Under Secretary of State for International Security Affairs; with the senior staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chaired by Senator John Kerry (D-Massachusetts); with the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs chaired by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont); and other key congressional officials.
Successful, high-level meetings also took place at the White House, the Department of State, and the Department of Defense with discussions focused on U.S. support for the CWC and the OPCW, nonproliferation policies, and chemical weapons destruction progress in the U.S., Russia, and elsewhere. During his stay in Washington, D.C., Ambassador Pfirter spoke at both the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, both events co-hosted by Global Green USA.
The first talk given by Ambassador Pfirter, entitled "Going to Zero with Weapons of Mass Destruction: Lessons from the Chemical Weapons Convention," took place at the Woodrow Wilson Center on June 16th. The four main tenets of the Convention were highlighted by the Ambassador – the global elimination of chemical weapons and the means to produce them, nonproliferation, assistance and protection for States Parties against the use of chemical weapons, and support for the peaceful uses of chemistry.
The Director-General also spoke about the strengths of the CWC due to its comprehensive nature and the effectiveness of the OPCW as a multilateral implementing agency because of its broad verification and inspection mandate. Additionally, Ambassador Pfirter addressed the challenges faced by States Parties to the CWC in completing the safe destruction of all chemical weapons by the upcoming April 29, 2012 deadline. The Woodrow Wilson presentation was also co-hosted by the Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory. For the full text of Ambassador Pfirter’s Wilson Center speech, click here to download.
On June 17th, Ambassador Pfirter's talk at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace emphasized the importance of “universality” – the adherence of all United Nations-recognized countries to the treaty regime – and how this can be accomplished. He proposed that entrance into the CWC for the seven UN member states currently outside the Convention – Angola, Egypt, Israel, Myanmar, North Korea, Somalia, and Syria – would best proceed from the combined support of government and public figures who advocate for the elimination of chemical weapons. In a review of his lessons and insights offered in his talk at the Wilson Center, Ambassador Pfirter discussed the difficulties of a multilateral approach, yet still cited how such an approach can be an "effective and durable means for strengthening global peace and security in the area of WMDs [weapons of mass destruction]." For the full text of Ambassador Pfirter’s Carnegie speech, click here to download.
The Security & Sustainability Program of Global Green USA was delighted to host Ambassador Pfirter's stay in Washington, D.C., and hopes to welcome him again in Washington DC before his second four-year term of office in The Hague expires in July 2010. Global Green USA, along with national Green Cross affiliates in Moscow and Zurich and Green Cross International in Geneva, has worked closely with the OPCW for over a decade now to help fully implement the historic global chemical abolition regime and to help analyze the success of the CWC for lessons in nuclear and biological arms control and disarmament. Global Green USA is the U.S. national affiliate of Green Cross International founded by Mikhail Gorbachev in 1993.
Photo Credits: 2nd photo - David Hawxhurst, from Woodrow Wilson Center; 3rd photo provided by Carnegie Endowment