With its steadfast commitment to the Chemical Weapons Convention, the United States of America today reported that it has safely destroyed approximately 90 percent of its chemical weapons stockpile, before the April 2012 deadline.
In her reamrks at the Thematic Debate: “Other Weapons of Mass Destruction,” U.S. Representative to the Conference on Disarmament Ambassador Laura E. Kennedy says the US government remains encouraged by the progress made by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in working toward a world free of chemical weapons.
Since entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) 15 years ago, the OPCW has accomplished a great deal.
“This is a notable milestone for the OPCW since it remains an indispensable multilateral body with a global responsibility.” -Ms. Kennedy
Ms. Laura reports that with a near universal membership of 188 member states, 75% of all declared chemical weapon stockpiles verifiably destroyed, and over 4,700 inspections conducted at military and industry sites since entry into force.
According to Ms. Kennedy, the US will continue working in a transparent manner towards the complete destruction of our remaining small amount of chemical weapons.
The United States also remains fully committed to the non-proliferation of chemical weapons and for working to ensure that there will be no re-emergence of chemical weapons, she stressed.
“Such a goal will take commitment from all States Parties and a continued effort in a number of areas to include Universality.” -Ms Kennedy
The US recognizes that preventing the re-emergence of chemical weapons requires a strong inspectorate, a credible industrial verification regime, and enactment by all States Parties of the necessary domestic legal regimes to fully enforce the CWC.
However, Ms. Kennedy pointed out that amid the accomplishments and cooperation from States Parties and the OPCW, there remain real challenges and sobering realities, such as the acknowledged possession of chemical weapons by Syria and its stated willingness to use them in response to “external aggression.”
President Obama has made it clear that the use of chemical weapons in Syria would have enormous consequences, Ms. Kennedy said.
“The UN Secretary-General and the OPCW Director General also have emphasized that the use of chemical weapons would be reprehensible. Other world leaders have stressed this same point.” -Ms. Kennedy
Ms. Kennedy stresses that the world is now faced with a situation where the possibility of the use of chemical weapons is very real.
She addds that in the preamble of the Chemical Weapons Convention, all States Parties “determined for the sake of all mankind, to exclude completely the possibility of the use of chemical weapons through the implementation of the provisions of this Convention.”
“We must stand together to make this goal a reality.” -Ms. Kennedy
In May this year, with its commitment to create a world free of weapons of mass destruction, the United States of America has reiterated that its commitment to complete chemical weapons destruction remains unwavering.
Recently, the United States submitted to the Council its detailed plan for doing so.
The United States is looking forward to briefing the Council on its plan later during the session.
United States will faithfully implement this treaty obligation, as well as the additional measures contained in the decision reached at the 16th Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).
Earlier this year, the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency (CMA) completed the destruction of the chemical weapons stockpile at Deseret Chemical Depot (DCD) in Utah.
With the elimination of the Utah chemical weapons stockpile, CMA has safely destroyed nearly 90 percent of the Nation’s stockpile of chemical agent and has successfully completed its mission to destroy all chemical agent munitions and items declared at entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and assigned to CMA for destruction. The CWC, an international treaty ratified by the United States in April 1997, required the complete destruction of the Nation’s chemical weapons stockpile by April 2007. The United States was granted a five-year extension to April 2012 as allowed by the treaty.
The safe destruction of 27,473.65 U.S. tons (24,923.68 metric tons) of nerve and blister agents represents 89.75 percent of the Nation’s chemical agent stockpile and is the culmination of more than 20 years of work by thousands of men and women at seven chemical demilitarization facilities located around the nation.