Director General of the OPCW, Fernando Arias, and Australia’s Chief Defence Scientist, Professor Tanya Monro, signed the agreement as part of ongoing efforts to prevent the re-emergence of chemical weapons.
Under the agreement, Defence’s Chemical Agents Analysis Facility (CAAF) will play an integral role supporting the OPCW efforts to investigate and verify the alleged use of chemical weapons. CAAF is one of only 15 laboratories in the world designated to undertake both biomedical and environmental sample analysis for the OPCW. It will be responsible for preparing proficiency test samples for OPCW-nominated laboratories around the world. This work will ensure overseas laboratories maintain the highest standards to analyse samples to detect the use of chemical weapons.
Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs Tim Watts said, “Australia strongly condemns the use of chemical weapons. We’re working hard internationally to support all efforts to investigate the alleged use of chemical weapons – and attribute responsibility.”
Assistant Minister for Defence Matt Thistlethwaite said, “Australia is committed to supporting the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and its global network of Designated Laboratories, including its mandated role to investigate alleged use of chemical weapons.”