clear
Saturday May 30th, 2015 4:36AM

Global chemical watchdog wins Nobel Peace Prize

By The Associated Press
OSLO, Norway (AP) -- The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for working to eliminate the scourge that has haunted generations from World War I to the battlefields of Syria.<br /> <br /> Based in The Hague, Netherlands, the OPCW was formed in 1997 to enforce the Chemical Weapons Convention, the first international treaty to outlaw an entire class of weapons. It had largely worked out of the limelight until this year, when the United Nations called on its expertise to help investigate alleged chemical weapons attacks in Syria.<br /> <br /> "The conventions and the work of the OPCW have defined the use of chemical weapons as a taboo under international law," the Nobel committee said. "Recent events in Syria, where chemical weapons have again been put to use, have underlined the need to enhance the efforts to do away with such weapons."<br /> <br /> Friday's award comes just days before Syria officially joins as the group's 190th member state. OPCW inspectors are already on a highly risky U.N.-backed disarmament mission based in Damascus to verify and destroy Syrian President Bashar Assad's arsenal of poison gas and nerve agents amid a raging civil war.<br /> <br /> The OPCW's director-general, Ahmet Uzumcu (AKH'-meht ooh-ZOOM'-joo), said the award was a recognition of the group's work for global peace in the past 16 years.<br /> <br /> "But (it's) also an acknowledgement of our staff's efforts, who are now deployed in Syria, who have been, in fact, making a very brave effort there to fulfill their mandate," he told Norwegian public broadcaster NRK.<br /> <br /> By giving the award to the largely faceless international organization, the Nobel committee found a way to highlight the devastating Syrian civil war, now in its third year, without siding with any group involved. The fighting has killed an estimated 100,000 people and forced millions of Syrians to flee their homes, according to the U.N.<br /> <br /> U.N. war crimes investigators have accused both Assad's government and the rebels of wrongdoing, although they said earlier this year that the scale and intensity of rebel abuses hasn't reached that of the regime.<br /> <br /> In the past, Albania, India, Iraq, Libya, Russia and the United States, along with a country identified by the OPCW only as "a state party" but widely believed to be South Korea, have declared stockpiles of chemical weapons and have or are in the process of destroying them.<br /> <br /> However, the committee noted that some countries have not observed their deadlines.<br /> <br /> "This applies especially to the USA and Russia," committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland said.<br /> <br /> After an Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack that killed hundreds in Syria, Assad was faced by the prospect of possibly devastating U.S. strikes against his military. To avert that, he admitted his chemical weapons stockpile and his government quickly signed up to the Chemical Weapons Convention and allowed OPCW inspectors into his country.<br /> <br /> Syria is scheduled to formally become a member of the organization on Monday.<br /> <br /> The first OPCW inspection team arrived in Syria last week, followed by a second this week and they have already begun to oversee the first stages of destruction of Assad's chemical weapons.<br /> <br /> According to the OPCW, 57,740 metric tons, or 81.1 percent, of the world's declared stockpile of chemical agents have been verifiably destroyed. Albania, India and "a third country" - believed to be South Korea - have completed destruction of their declared stockpiles.<br /> <br /> An OPCW report released earlier this year said the United States had destroyed about 90 percent of its stockpile, Russia had destroyed 70 percent of its chemical weapons and Libya 51 percent.<br /> <br /> Among nonmember states are North Korea, Angola, Egypt and South Sudan. Israel and Myanmar have signed but not ratified the convention.<br /> <br /> The European Union won the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize.<br /> <br /> The peace prize was the last of the original Nobel Prizes to be announced for this year. The winners of the economics award, added in 1968, will be announced on Monday.
© Copyright 2015 AccessNorthGa.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
S&P 500 index has its best year since 1997
The stock market closed out a record year with more all-time highs on Tuesday, giving U.S. indexes their biggest annual gains in almost two decades.
6:56PM ( 1 year ago )
Colorado readies for 'Green Wednesday' pot sales
Police were adding extra patrols around pot shops in eight Colorado towns that plan to allow recreational sales to anyone over 21 on Jan. 1.
1:52PM ( 1 year ago )
Kerry seeks framework for Mideast peace talks
A senior State Department official says Secretary of State John Kerry will try this week to get Israel and the Palestinians to agree on a framework for negotiating a final peace agreement, yet cautions against raising expectations for Kerry's latest round of shuttle diplomacy.
1:35PM ( 1 year ago )
U.S. News
Ethics laws set to take effect Jan. 1 in Georgia
After dominating much of the legislative session, a set of major ethics reforms is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.
7:04PM ( 1 year ago )
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
Federal prosecutors indict ex-US Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert on bank-related charges
CHICAGO (AP) — Federal prosecutors indict ex-US Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert on bank-related charges.
5:08PM ( 1 day ago )
Homeowners clean up in Texas; death toll climbs to 21
HOUSTON (AP) — Homeowners dragged soggy carpet to the curb and mopped up coffee-colored muck Wednesday after a barrage of storms and floods in Texas and Oklahoma left at least 21 people dead and 11 ot...
11:09PM ( 2 days ago )
US rejects nuclear disarmament document over Israel concerns
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United States on Friday blocked a global document aimed at ridding the world of nuclear weapons, saying Egypt and other states tried to "cynically manipulate" the process by...
9:33PM ( 1 week ago )
Obama again avoids calling 1915 Armenian killings 'genocide'
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will once again stop short of calling the 1915 massacre of Armenians a genocide, prompting anger and disappointment from those who have been pushing him to ful...
1:00PM ( 1 month ago )
Ex-NFL star Hernandez convicted of murder, sentenced to life
FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) — Former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison Wednesday for a deadly late-night shooting, sealing the d...
8:54PM ( 1 month ago )