I want to congratulate the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons for winning the Nobel Peace Prize. The world will never forget the loss of the more than 1,000 innocent Syrians senselessly killed with chemical weapons on Aug. 21. There could be no more stark reminder why for almost 100 years, the international community has deemed the use of these weapons far beyond the bounds of acceptable conduct.
Since that horrific attack, the OPCW has taken extraordinary steps and worked with unprecedented speed to address this blatant violation of international norms that shocked the conscience of people around the world. Just a few weeks ago, a united international community came together at the OPCW and the United Nations to establish a clear path toward eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons forever. And last week, OPCW inspectors, backed by the full weight of the United Nations, took the first, critical steps toward that goal.
Today, the Nobel Committee has rightly recognized their bravery and resolve to carry out this vital mission amid an ongoing war in Syria. On this occasion, I am also particularly mindful of the more than 100,000 Syrians lost in this bloody conflict, and the need for the entire international community to redouble our effort to bring it to an end and give peace-loving Syrians a country to return to, free of carnage.