Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered at on 8 May 2002.

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Photo of Lynne Jones Lynne Jones Labour, Birmingham, Selly Oak

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

(1) if he will make a statement on the reasons for the Government's decision to vote in favour of a vote of no confidence in Jose Bustani, Director General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons;

(2) if he will make a statement on the decision of Her Majesty's Government to vote to remove the Director General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Photo of Ben Bradshaw Ben Bradshaw Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

Our policy throughout this matter has been guided by our judgment of what is in the best interests of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Mr. Bustani had lost the confidence of a significant number of the OPCW's Executive Council. At a Special Conference of the OPCW on 21 April, 48 states parties voted for the resolution to terminate Mr. Bustani's appointment, 43 abstained and only seven voted against. Every European Union country voted for the resolution (except France, which abstained), as did other key countries like India, Australia, Canada and Japan. Mr. Bustani's appointment was accordingly terminated with immediate effect.

The Special Conference also called for states parties to nominate candidates for the vacancy of Director General as soon as possible, and for the Executive Council to meet before 31 May to consider the nominations and decide on a recommendation to put to the conference before 10 June.

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Julian Todd
Posted on 7 Jun 2005 8:24 pm (Report this annotation)

An account that is a little closer to the truth has come out of the Senate hearings on John Bolton:

The Associated Press is reporting that John Bolton helped force out a top international arms control official ahead of the Iraq invasion because he feared the official could interfere with the Bush administration's war plans. The Senate is now considering Bolton to be Washington's ambassador to the United Nations. According to the Associated Press, Bolton flew to Europe in 2002 to personally demand that Jose Bustani resign his post as head of a global arms-control agency called the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. At the time Bustani was trying to send chemical weapons inspectors to Baghdad. If the inspectors had been sent in 2002 -- they would have uncovered that Iraq had no chemical weapons -- a discovery that would have undermined the Bush administration's rationale for war. One of Bustani's former aides -- Bob Rigg -- said the motivation of Bolton and the Bush administration was clear in removing Bustani. Rigg said "They felt they couldn't rely on [the agency] to come up with the findings the U.S. wanted." After Bustani refused to resign, the Bush administration successfully removed him during a controversial vote that was later deemed to be unlawful. Ahead of the vote the U.S. delegation threatened to withhold U.S. dues from the agency if Bustani stayed in office.

The reason for the UK following Bolton's orders is clear -- this country always takes orders from America regardless of reason or consequence. What was the reason for the other European countries complying?