Chemical weapons watchdog pursues holdout nations

AP News
Posted: Dec 03, 2009 6:46 AM

The newly elected chemical weapons chief says he will pursue the last seven holdouts _ including Israel, Egypt and Syria _ to get them to sign a disarmament treaty and submit weapons stockpiles for inspection.

Ahmet Uzumcu says he expects one nation, Angola, to sign the Chemical Weapons Convention soon. The Mideast countries, however, have said joining the convention is linked to an agreement on nuclear disarmament.

Uzumcu told reporters on Thursday chemical disarmament should be weighed on its own merits.

North Korean, Myanmar and Somalia also have not signed the 1997 treaty.

The veteran Turkish diplomat was elected Wednesday to be director of the 188-nation Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, based in The Hague. He takes over next July.