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Official visit of the Director-General of the Technical Secretariat of the OPCW, Mr. Rogelio Pfirter, in the Czech Republic (18 - 20 May 2003)

In the period of 18 – 20 May 2003, the Director-General of the Technical Secretariat of the OPCW Mr. R. Pfirter made his first official visit to the Czech Republic.

Official visits

In the period of 18 – 20 May 2003, the Director-General of the Technical Secretariat of the OPCW Mr. R. Pfirter made his first official visit to the Czech Republic (it was the second visit of the Di-rector-General of the Technical Secretariat of the OPCW to the Czech Republic). Its bilateral part comprising working meeting with the representatives of the State Office for Nuclear Safety, work­ing lunch with the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs responsible for Security Policy Mr. A.Vondra, lecture in the Institute for International Relations on the topic „The Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in Globalised World“, visit of the National Institute for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Protection in Pribram and a dinner with the main representatives of the State Office for Nuclear Safety, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic and other involved departments and participants in the Chemical Disarmament Conference (Prague, 22 – 24 May 2003) was followed by one-day participation in the aforementioned conference. The Director-General of the Technical Secretariat of the OPCW highly appreciated the implementation status of the Convention in the Czech Republic as well as the activities of the Czech Republic related to the implementation of the Convention, especially in the field of assistance and protection against chemical weapons.

The main item of the visit of the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs responsible for Security Policy Mr. J. Winkler in the OPCW on 9 March 2004 was the working meeting with the Deputy Director-General of the Technical Secretariat of the OPCW and other high-ranking officers of the Techni­cal Secretariat of the OPCW. Deputy Minister Mr. J. Winkler also participated in a briefing and dis­cussion on the subject of „The OPCW and the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons: review and implementation status“, spoke with the Director of the Secretariat for Policy-Making Organs of the OPCW and met with Czech inspectors in the Technical Secretariat of the OPCW. The discussion in working meetings focused on current implementation status of the Convention with a special emphasis on destruction of chemical weapons (including Libya and Albania), activities of the Czech Republic within the OPCW, application of tenure policy and introduction of new budget­ing method in the OPCW.

Deputy chairman of the State Office for Nuclear Safety Mr. P. Krs did have, within his visit of the OPCW on 18 May 2004, working meetings with the Deputy Director-General of the Technical Secre­tariat of the OPCW Mr. B. Hawtin and Directors of the Verification Division and the External Relations Division of the Technical Secretariat. He participated in a briefing on current aspects of implementation of the Convention and met several Czech inspectors. The main topics of discussion were the activities of the Czech Republic within the OPCW, current implementation status of the Convention, possible offer of assistance of the Czech Republic in relation to the Action Plan for im­plementation of the Convention on the national level and destruction status of chemical weapons. In the end of the day, Mr. P. Krs together with the Ambassador of the Czech Republic Mr. P.Kubernát, gave a reception on the occasion of the end of the Chairmanship of the Czech Republic in the Executive Council of the OPCW.

Social events

Chairmanship of the Czech Republic was accompanied also by many social events aimed mainly at creation of opportunities for informal exchange of opinions and information about positions of the States Parties to the items discussed in the Executive Council. On the occasion of the beginning and end of the Chairmanship, receptions were given for States Parties delegations and representatives of the Technical Secretariat of the OPCW. In view of support the cooperation of facilitators and Vice-chairmen of the Executive Coun­cil in solution of problematic issues discussed in informal working groups as well as the cooperation of these groups’ facilitators among themselves, a cocktail was given in October 2003 for facilitators, Vice-chairmen of the EC and representatives of the Technical Secretariat responsible for the re­spective unresolved issues. In order to support an exchange of information on bilateral level, working lunches and dinners with delegations and representatives of the Technical Secretariat as well as suppers for members of the Bureau of the Executive Council and Bureau of the Conference on the occasion of 8th Conference of the States Parties were organized.

A cultural contribution of the Czech Chairmanship was the exhibition „Life of Václav Havel“ in the OPCW building in The Hague opened by the Chairman of the EC Mr. P. Kubernát together with the Director-General of the Technical Secretariat of the OPCW Mr. R. Pfirter. The exhibition was open shortly before the Conference of the States Parties session and thus was accessible to as many delegates as pos­sible, including the participants coming from the headquarters. Thanks to its wide public acceptance, the duration of the exhibition was extended by 14 days.