Ambassador Ekkehard Brose handed the mobile container lab over to Dr Hussain Al-Shahrestani, Iraq’s Higher Education Minister, on 18 January 2016. By providing this laboratory, Germany is helping Iraq in its efforts to meet its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). The laboratory contains equipment to detect chemical warfare agents and toxic chemicals.
Getting this lab set up in Iraq, and training Iraqi staff to use the equipment, cost a total of 2 million euros from Federal Foreign Office funds. The project was agreed on by the Federal Republic of Germany and Iraq back in 2012, but the actual delivery of the equipment was repeatedly postponed due to the difficult security situation on the ground.
Iraq still has stocks remaining from its chemical weapons programme which was abandoned in the late 1980s. These remnants are no longer weapons-grade and are subject to strict protection. Iraq has been a state party to the Chemical Weapons Convention of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) since 2009, and as such is obliged to destroy all installations and weapons related to its former chemical weapons programme. Most of this work has already been completed.
The objective: a world free of chemical weapons
Germany supports the OPCW in its goal of creating a world free of chemical weapons. The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) is one of the most successful disarmament treaties ever. But the objective has not yet been achieved. Chemical weapons have, for example, been used in Syria on multiple occasions since August 2013, with devastating and long‑lasting consequences for the civilian population. These attacks are a reminder to the entire international community of the urgency of working towards the goal of a world free of chemical weapons.