Yesterday we celebrated the 40th anniversary of VERIFIN, Finnish Institute for Verification of the Chemical Weapons Convention. The event was arranged at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs which funds VERIFIN, and the event was also attended by the Director General Ahmet Üzümcü from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). It tells a lot about the stature of VERIFIN that Üzümcü did not cancel his visit in spite of the heavy workload of urgent tasks the OPCW is now dealing with to destroy the chemical weapons of Syria.
Finland stands ready to contribute to the efforts of the UN and the OPCW on destruction of Syrian chemical weapons. We plan to make a financial contribution to the OPCW Trust Fund. We are also willing to provide personnel and expertise to the efforts of OPCW on Syria.VERIFIN has had its own important role in looking into the use of chemical weapons in Syria and undoubtedly the expertise of VERIFIN will be in demand in future as well. VERIFIN was one of the four OPCW’s designated laboratories, in which the UN Investigation Mission’s samples were analysed. The reason why VERIFIN was selected by the OPCW does not surprise anyone, VERIFIN’s expertise is of the highest international standard.To uphold VERIFIN’s status as one of the leading international laboratories, its capabilities need to be kept at a high standard also in the future. In this light we should also consider he consequences of the decision to cut the research funding of the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority.