POLITICS
14/10/2013 09:25 BST | Updated 14/10/2013 11:39 BST

David Miliband Warns Nobel Peace Prize Award 'Dangerous' For Syria

David Miliband has warned that the decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is ironic and potentially dangerous given the number of people killed in Syria over the last two years - including by chemical weapons.

“I think the chemical weapons inspectors do amazing work, but the truth is that they probably wouldn’t have gotten this prize if President Assad hadn’t used chemical weapons,” he said.

"It's a bit of an irony you've got this body thats done 15 years of important work and it takes the abuse of chemical weapons to get them a Nobel prize."

The former foreign secretary made the comments while appearing on the American political talk sxxfhow This Week on Sunday morning. Miliband, who has moved to New York to take charge of the International Rescue Committee charity, said there was probably an "aspiration" in the announcement but warned "there is also a danger".

He said: "Let's be honest, 1,400 people were killed with chemical weapons, 120,000 people have been killed in all, 7 million people displaced from their homes."

Miliband also said he was concerned that people not think that just because the chemical weapons issue was being addressed the "Syrian conflict the regional conflict is done and dusted". And he warned American's about the scale of the refugee crisis. "Just think of a country like Jordan … 600,00 refugees, that's like the whole of Poland arriving in the US."

The OPCW was established in 1997 and is based in The Hague, the Netherlands. Experts from the watchdog are working to destroy Syria's massive chemical weapons stockpile after a sarin gas strike in the suburbs of Damascus in August killed more than 1,400 people.

The decision surprised many who had tipped Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai who was shot by the Taliban to education to receive the world's top peace award.