THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Member states of the international chemical weapons watchdog have appointed a Spanish diplomat as the organization’s new leader. He takes office next year.

Fernando Arias was officially appointed Thursday to a four-year term as the next Director-General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. He replaces incumbent Ahmet Uzumcu, who served two terms, on July 25, 2018.

The OPCW, winner of the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize, has been thrust into the global limelight by its role in investigations into the use of chemical weapons in Syria’s civil war.

In a speech following the decision, Arias said, “I am fully committed to the success of this organization in overcoming the challenges ahead.”

Arias is currently Spain’s ambassador to the Netherlands and his country’s Permanent Representative to the OPCW.

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.