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The Week Ahead, June 23-28: Syria's CW Removed; Mine Ban Treaty; Iran Nuclear Talks Go Into Overdrive

Arms Control NOW

The following are some of the key arms control dates and developments to watch over the next fortnight. WeekAheadSOLO

For more news and analysis on these and other weapons-related security issues, consider subscribing to ACA's monthly journal Arms Control Today, which is available in print/digital and digital-only editions.

- written and compiled by Tim Farnsworth

June 23: OPCW Announces Last Consignment of Syria's Declared CW Stockpile Removed

Today, OPCW Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü announced that the last of the remaining chemical weapons and precursors identified for removal from Syria were loaded aboard the Danish ship Ark Futura at the port of Latakia in Syria.

As ACA's executive director Daryl Kimball notes, this "... is a major milestone that will help protect Syria's beleaguered and battered population from further, large scale chemical weapons attacks from the Assad regime."

The removal of this final shipment marks the end of the most important phase of the months-long operation triggered by the Assad regime's massive August 2013 Sarin gas attack and U.S.-Russian agreement to bring Syria into the Chemical Weapons Convention.

June 23-28: States Meet for Third Review Conference on Landmine Ban Treaty

States parties to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty (a.k.a. The Ottawa Convention) gather in Maputo, Mozambique for the third review conference. During the week-long, RevCon, states and NGOs will review recent advances and lessons, and develop a new, five-year plan for implementation and achieving universal adherence to the agreement.

To date, the United States and 33 other states have not joined the treaty. The Barack Obama administration launched a landmine policy review in 2009, to determine if the country should join the Mine Ban Treaty. To date, no announcement has been made as to its findings. U.S. officials will address the Maputo meeting but no major announcements are anticipated.

The United States has not used anti-personnel mines since 1991, has not produced any since 1997, ended exports of these weapons in 1992, and the is the leading donor nation for mine removal and assistance programs worldwide. The U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines (of which ACA is a member), Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and others have been urging President Obama to make the United States a party to the treaty.

June 23-28: U.S. Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman to Brief Congress on Progress of Iran Nuclear Talks as Negotiations Continue

Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs and lead U.S. negotiator at the p5+1 talks with Iran over its nuclear program, is expected to brief members of Congress this week on progress toward a comprehensive agreement.

Top diplomats from Iran and the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) are expected to meet in Brussels June 26-27 to continue working towards a comprehensive agreement on Iran's nuclear program. Iranian and P5+1 negotiating teams will reconvene July 2 in Vienna to try to reach a deal by July 20.

June 26: ACA Hold Briefing, Releases Report on "Solving the Iranian Nuclear Puzzle" at Washington Event

On Thursday at 10am, the Arms Control Association will present the key findings of a new staff report during a June 26 briefing in Washington, D.C. that explains the key issues and outlines options available to the negotiators that could help secure a "win-win" outcome.

The briefing will address options for extending "breakout" time and improving the ability to detect and disrupt any such effort. Options for resolving the difficult challenge of defining Iran's uranium enrichment capacity and reducing the plutonium output of Iran's Arak reactor will also be explained. Panelists include:

  • Kelsey Davenport, Nonproliferation Analyst, Arms Control Association;
  • Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association;
  • Greg Thielmann; Senior Fellow, Arms Control Association, former Director of the Strategic, Proliferation and Military Affairs Office in the Department of State's Bureau of Intelligence and Research; and
  • Frank von Hippel, Senior Research physicist and Professor of Public and International Affairs Emeritus at Princeton University's Program on Science and Global Security.

Please RSVP online.

Copies of the newly updated edition of ACA's 64-page briefing book, Solving the Iranian Nuclear Puzzle, will be available at the event.