The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP

Media Release

FA154 - 13 December 2005

Australia and Cambodia Work to Prohibit and Prevent Chemical Weapons Activities

I am pleased to announce that Australia is co-hosting with the Royal Kingdom of Cambodia, a National Workshop for more than 80 participants to facilitate the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in Cambodia.

The CWC is an international, multilateral disarmament treaty which, among other objectives, bans the development, production, stockpiling, transfer and use of chemical weapons. Australia works hard to ensure the effective implementation of the Convention in order to enhance global and regional security and to deliver significant counter-terrorism benefits.

Experts from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and Japan are travelling to Phnom Penh to participate in the Workshop (13-15 December) which aims to raise awareness in Cambodia about the requirements and prohibitions of the CWC.

Following the workshop, meetings between experts and participants will be held in parallel sessions. One group will draft legislation to implement the Convention and to ban and criminalise CW activities in Cambodia. Another group will develop a national action plan to meet Cambodia's CWC obligations and will help identify and report relevant chemical activities, including trade.

Australia's contribution both to this visit and regionally, form part of a broader plan of action agreed by CWC State Parties for improving implementation of the Convention around the world.

The Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office within DFAT is coordinating the visit arrangements with support and funding provided through the Government's aid agency, AusAID, in cooperation with the OPCW and Japan.

This visit also builds on recent Australian Government assistance to Cambodia in other areas of international security, including developing the country's counter-terrorism legislation covering threats such as those posed by weapons of mass destruction. Effective Cambodian implementation of the CWC complements this.

Media inquiries : Ministerial 02 6277 7500, DFAT Media Liaison 02 6261 1555, AusAID (Public Affairs) 0417 680 590

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