Interview With Rogelio Pfirter, Director-General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

Interviewed by Miles A. Pomper and Michael Nguyen

Rogelio Pfirter is the director-general of the Organization for the Prohibition for Chemical Weapons, the international organization charged with implementing the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention. On Sept. 23, Arms Control Today Editor Miles A. Pomper and Chemical and Biological Weapons Analyst Michael Nguyen spoke with Ambassador Pfirter about the future of his organization and the Chemical Weapons Convention.

ACT: There are now about 174 states-parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and it is getting close to universality. What do you see as the major obstacles that might keep the CWC from reaching its ultimate goal of universality, and how would achieving universality change your mission?

Pfirter: Well, the areas where we still haven’t achieved universality basically are problematic areas. Either we are talking about the Middle East, North Korea, or some states in Africa which have very serious problems, where the priority is internal reshaping of the countries. But basically I think it is the Middle East, where quite clearly chemical weapons have been alleged to exist, and secondly are somehow influenced by the ultimate decisions concerning the whole categories of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons. So in a way one could say that in the Middle East, unfortunately, chemical weapons are hostage to nuclear weapons. We are making big efforts to try and break that logic, because we believe chemical weapons should be looked at on their own merits, so to say, and there’s good reason to eliminate them. But it won’t be easy to get countries in that region to sign and join [the CWC]—although I remain, I must say, prudently optimistic because in the last few months, what we have seen is that the countries in the region are prepared to look at this issue in a dynamic fashion and not just take for granted that there will always be a stalemate.

North Korea is a very different case, I mean they won’t even respond to any openings that we might make, and we do make openings ever so regularly to them. In terms of numbers, it is not too large, but in terms of quality, it might be quite a daunting task for us still. And of course, like any chain, we are as strong as our weakest link, and in as much as we don’t achieve universality and there are countries outside that either have the capability or have been alleged to have stockpiles, I don’t think we can claim success.

ACT: Switching topics a little bit, a few years ago, as you know, there was a financial crisis that prevented your organization from carrying out many of its inspection duties.[1] Are you now on a stronger financial footing and what steps are being taken to secure the long-term future of the organization?

Pfirter: Well, I think that we are certainly on a much safer, much stronger financial standing. In the last two or three years, that is since 2003, we have been able to carry on our full program concerning verification, both in terms of destruction of chemical weapons and, in terms of nonproliferation, inspections of industry. So I think we are on the right track so much so that this year for the first time, I have been able to propose a zero-growth budget in the strong belief that whatever we have now suffices to carry on program delivery. And that program delivery, I must say, in 2006 we will even contemplate more of a burden of intensive verification than this year. So I think we are alright. Of course, I don’t think any organization has a guarantee of long-term stability. What we need is continued commitments by member states to pay in full and on time. And on that, I think there’s still much room for progress.

ACT: When you say you are contemplating taking on more of a burden of verification, is there a particular direction you are thinking about going in?

Pfirter: Well yes, I think there are two things. First of all, there might be more facilities coming, more [chemical weapons] destruction facilities coming into operation. In Russia, we might have Kambarka as of next year, and Russia has also said that it will have Maradykovsky and that will demand having inspectors on site 24 hours, 7 days a week whenever there is a destruction activity.[2] And secondly, I am concerned that in the field of industry verification for nonproliferation’s sake, and bearing in mind also the looming threat of terrorism, that we should enlarge our efforts. Of particular concerns are Organic Chemical Production Facilities where I believe our effort is still very low in proportional terms when one looks at the universe of the number of plants we have identified as potentially relevant to the convention.[3]

ACT: But you think you are able to do all of this without increasing the budget?

Pfirter: For the time being, yes, because we are very keen on maximizing our resources, optimizing whatever we have. We have been working very hard with the United States and Russia, in particular, but also with India and with a state-party about the number of inspectors for use in inspection—being able to reduce them from eight to five in many cases.[4]

Secondly, we have not created, but we are making use of a new category of inspectors, who are not necessarily full-staff but are what we call a “special services agreement.” These are inspectors who are no longer in the organization, but we engage them for destruction-verification purposes, and we reduce in that way 40 percent in terms of cost-per-inspector. So I think that we will be able to probably cope.

ACT: You mentioned Russia. Are you confident that you will be able to handle the increased workload as the United States and Russia increase their chemical weapons destruction activities?

Pfirter: I think we are. As a matter of fact that matter at precisely this moment is being discussed by member states, and I have each possessor state telling me in writing their anticipated destruction activities for next year. And I believe that we are still on target with the number of inspectors that we have.

ACT: You mentioned one of the concerns that has been expressed at times, that this new seven-year tenure policy could result in the loss of expertise and institutional memory from the organization, particularly in the verification division. What are you doing to address this concern?

Pfirter: I must say, first of all, I think that the tenure policies were the result of the interests of many for making sure that we don’t repeat the model of some international organizations where because they become career organizations, there is a tendency to overgrow and over-inflate the staffing and there’s no motivation sometimes for improvement. On the verification front, although we do run the risks that you have mentioned, we have not been unsuccessful in recruiting or in replenishing the inspectorate, and we are trying to make sure we do it in a prudent and phased fashion, that we guarantee or allow for the preservation for as long as possible of institutional memory and also for the transmission of experience from the outgoing to the incoming. As a matter of fact, one directive that I have issued is that each one is expected to produce a legacy of experiences that we pass on to those who are coming in. So far, so good.

Now having said that, I believe that this is an issue, where because it is so new, no one could responsibly give an ultimate judgment of whether it’s been successful or not, and so in the near future, it is my intention (after three years probably) to sit down and make an evaluation from every possible point of view—not just the performance, but also financial and other [criteria]—and see how we are doing. I must say that we are finding it a bit more difficult sometimes to recruit people in areas not related to verification. As you know, we have a large administrative division, and for instance our own human resources office needed to be reinforced, and we haven’t been so successful getting professionals to apply and stay. So we have to look, and probably in the future a different mix might be advisable. But for the time being I think that as I said, on the verification front, I don’t feel that although we have had turnover of some of the key positions there, so far we are happy and satisfied that things are alright.

ACT: The Eighth Conference of States Parties adopted an action plan for the implementation of obligations related to national implementation and designation of national authorities under Article VII of the CWC.[5] We’re getting near the action plan’s November 2005 deadline, and it is clear that a lot of countries haven’t even taken the most basic steps despite a lot of regional workshops and offers of assistance. How do you expect the states-parties to address the end of the action plan at the upcoming Conference of States Parties?

Pfirter: I think this is a very serious matter. Implementation is of the essence. We all know that the ultimate effective means of this treaty—and this is not an irrelevant treaty, this is an important treaty for peace and security—the ultimate success depends on universality and full implementation by everyone. So, and that’s why the action plan was adopted by consensus, because everyone recognized that. And I think that we have to look now and do an evaluation of where we stand and take whatever measures are necessary now to make sure we move forward effectively in the future. We should do so prudently, but also with determination. And I think that I look forward to the debate that will take place in the context of the conference, and I do hope that member states will take the bull by the horns and see a way.

ACT:Are you proposing anything in particular?

Pfirter: No, I think we made our evaluation and now there are proposals from member states including the United States and that’s what’s being considered at the moment. If we are called by some states to say something, we will do that, but for the time being I think we are allowing for member states themselves to look into this, and probably some member states want to explain more, for example, those who are not where they should be. So I think that as we come closer to the conference probably, it will be clear where we are, but I’m quite sure that, first of all some action will be taken, and secondly, that this is not the end of the process but quite to the contrary, it’s an ongoing process.

ACT: Has the passage of UN Resolution 1540 changed your organization’s approach to the question of national implementation?[6]

Pfirter: Well, I must say one has to recognize that there’s probably no consensus among all member states as to what the resolution means. I personally believe it has been an extremely positive development. It has helped to boost the overall efforts for nonproliferation, of which chemical weapons is a big chunk. The resolution makes mandatory a series of requirements and obligations that are already in our convention but extends them even to countries that are still members of the [CWC]. All-in-all, I think that demonstrates the value of implementing our convention. It confirms, by stating obligations that are identical to our own convention, it demonstrates that our convention is very much an up-to-date document and quite relevant in the efforts against terrorism, which quite clearly constitutes a major priority. I don’t think that any treaty can see itself outside of that effort.

ACT: The United States and Russia, as you know, are the two largest possessors of chemical weapons stockpiles. If they fail to destroy their weapons by the CWC’s ultimate 2012 deadline, how will this affect the credibility of the regime and how will other states-parties react?[7]

Pfirter: I think it will have a devastating effect. But I as director-general would want to think that the countries remained strongly committed and therefore will take whatever measures are necessary to comply with their obligations by 2012. I know there is quite a degree of skepticism out there, but I as director of this organization have received nothing but reaffirmation and confirmation of their commitment and I look forward to the actions that will crystallize that commitment. I was in Russia in July and I heard it from the highest authorities there that they will do it. Russia, as you know, is redesigning its destruction program plan or calendar and we will see. I think that if Russia is successful in its effort to jump-start, so to speak, its program next year with Kambarka and Maradykovsky, we might think that maybe the effort will ultimately succeed.

I think at this stage, entertaining any idea of the renegotiation of this convention is very bad. Not the least because as you know this convention was adopted by consensus and any reopening of the doors would mean entering into a Pandora’s Box. We don’t know where it might end. Secondly, I believe that the priority issue of nonproliferation could be greatly affected if the obligations undertaken by possessor states are not implemented, because then it will probably be more difficult to push forward with industry verification on the agenda, which is aimed at that. So the key to success of this convention is the fairly harmonious fashion in which all the different provisions of the convention, the different verification activities and obligations I think by member states are being implemented.

ACT: Have people raised the issue of renegotiating the convention?

Pfirter: No, certainly not formally. Of course we are all aware it is near the end of 2005 and there already have been delays in the destruction of the 45 percent by the large possessor states and I know that there are voices out there, increasingly that say, “Well, this is unachievable.” We know that. But as I said, I think that ultimately the political will is there and I hope that countries will provide all the technical, financial, and political support necessary and the measures indispensable for them to comply with their obligations. These are solemn obligations taken under international law.

ACT:Speaking of politics, one of the obstacles or one of the issues that’s been out there are congressional stipulations put on the U.S. implementing legislation for the CWC. In your discussions with Congress or the administration, have you discussed or are you planning to discuss the possibility of repealing any of those conditions, for instance the ability to block chemical weapon inspections on grounds of national security or the provision preventing the removal of chemical samples?[8]

Pfirter: I don’t see those issues as the ones that are at this stage endangering the convention. I think what we have to concentrate on at this stage, fundamentally, is the destruction programs: their financing, the provisioning of all the technical and instrumental requirements for them to be successful. This is what I think is the key to it. Here is where I think we should put the emphasis at this stage rather than other things which aren’t, which might be there, but are not the ones that are making or breaking us at this stage of the convention.

ACT: Have other states-parties at the OPCW complained, in any form, about the U.S. provisions or the U.S. conditions?

Pfirter: As I said, this is an issue that at this stage is not in the priority of member states and there have been no discussions politically. I think that the priority is in the implementation of the different provisions of the convention, different articles: Article VI, Article VII, Article IV, certainly Article I.[9]

ACT: I know you’ve had the opportunity to meet with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Verification, Compliance, and Implementation Paula DeSutter. Last year Arms Control Today interviewed her and she said that she felt there was a “growing consensus at OPCW that is more favorable to challenge inspections, particularly among the European states.”[10] As you know, the United States recently released a report about compliance with arms control treaties, and they concluded that Iran was strengthening key elements of its chemical weapons infrastructure.[11] Do you think that a challenge inspection of Iran or any other country is likely to occur in the future?[12]

Pfirter: Well as the director-general of the organization, I prefer not to talk about countries in particular. As you know, with a challenge inspection, the triggering element there is not a decision by the director-general, but rather, a request by a member state. If a member state has any request to make, well then there’s a procedure there. Having said all that, I personally as the director-general believe that it is crucial that we preserve the effectiveness of each and every one of the tools which the convention foresees for ensuring its full implementation. So without naming any country at all—without getting involved in that—what I say is that the institution of challenge inspection is one of the key components of the credibility and deterrent capacity of the [CWC]. So we have to make sure that we all recognize that it is there and it’s implementable should the occasion arise.

ACT: Not talking about any specific country, but a little more concretely, would you like to see challenge inspections go forward since this hasn’t been used?

Pfirter: I think we have to dispel the fear that, you know, this is something that cannot be done. I think it is crucial, I believe, to the ultimate ability of a convention to, as I say, for verification and deterrent purposes that we recognize that this is available. And as a consequence of that, I consider the obligation of us in the secretariat to retain a high degree of preparedness. Now this is something that we are doing regularly. Of course, I have also been encouraging not just the secretariat, but also member states to look into the decision to make sure that they too retain an ongoing preparedness. There’s no question that we need to keep it as a viable, not just theoretical, but actual instrument.

ACT: On the flip side of that, would you prefer that countries such as the United States file a complaint with the OPCW rather than make public judgments or accusations about countries’ programs?

Pfirter: I think that the United States, like any other country, is the one who knows best. The United States, quite clearly, is a key player in our organization and the good thing about the [CWC] is that it has an array of ways of addressing issues of concern for member states. One of the keys also to this success, I think, is the complementarity between the collective action and bilateral ongoing, continual consultations and the right to consultation and to ask questions which the convention foresees. So I think all countries will, in due course make up their balance and see what is the preferred way. There is a series of options there.

ACT: As a follow-up, Austria has held a meeting to talk about how to structure challenged inspections, and annually the United Kingdom actually has been conducting a mock challenge inspection. I know OPCW has sent observers, but are they active participants in these challenge inspection?

Pfirter: Not only have we [the Technical Secretariat] been involved in that, but we have carried out surprise challenge inspection exercises within the secretariat itself this year. I kept all but two or three staffers there from realizing it and even top directors didn’t know. We launched it at 9:20 [a.m.], the [same] morning a complaint is filed, and we selected a very far-away distant country. This was a realistic exercise and I got the permission of that country to do it. And by five in the afternoon we had been able to deploy 12 inspectors, the first third of the whole team, to the airport with all the equipment, and they would have been in situ before the deadline of 48 hours or 12 hours established by the convention itself and the verification annex.[13]

We consider that intensive readiness. And not only that, we also were able to ascertain that day, except for a delay of one industry inspection, we would have been able to carry on with our normal program delivery. So not only have we been able to deploy, but also to carry on our regular verification activities. So hopefully that gives some assurance, but of course, a challenge inspection depends on not only the ability of the director-general to deploy his team to the member states; it depends also on visas being issued by the countries that are affected, by transport being available and so on. So it requires a complexity of outside factors being in order, aside from the purely political ones that might arise in the policy-making elements. But that requires consideration of this matter beyond the Technical Secretariat itself.

ACT: Getting back to your answer to our first question. You talked about focusing more on the Middle East. You had some successes with Libya and Iran as states-parties, but Israel, Egypt, and Syria continue to hold out. The EU has tried to link trade to WMD pledges—especially with Syria.[14] But that doesn’t seem to have brought any change to their CWC state-party status, so do you have any new strategies that you plan to use?

Pfirter: This was an inert issue until two years ago. Two years ago we decided to do something about this, and we started in collective fashion, as well as bilateral context, to mobilize it. And while I would agree with you technically in the sense that yes, there has been no change of status—they have neither ratified in the case of Israel or acceded in the case of Syria and Lebanon and Egypt—from the political point of view, I think there has been encouraging developments in the sense that a dialogue has been opened and assurances have been obtained. First of all, [they have assured us] that there is no quarrel with the principles and purposes of the convention, quite to the contrary. That is to say, none of these countries think that chemical weapons should exist or should continue; the purposes are there. Secondly, I think that it’s been quite clearly a question of a disposition to revisit this issue and see where it stands and not consider that the frozen condition it was before is one that will last forever. We have also taken a few bilateral and collective actions as I mentioned.

First of all, I have had contacts with some of these authorities. The last one would be the foreign minister of Egypt last week in New York. And I have been reassured that there will be the possibility of change in the disposition to talk to the organization. In the past, Egypt, for instance, did not even send observers to our meetings, and we didn’t have any official Egyptian presence at our meetings. I think that starting with our meetings we are going to have in Africa now, we will have someone from the [Egyptian] embassy going, and hopefully there will also be observers in our next Conference of State Parties. In the case of Israel, Israel has been an observer as well as signatory party and we did have a very good, I think, exchange in the course of this year in March and we had [talks with] officials of different areas of the Israeli government, and I’m encouraged that this is not considered to be a dead issue there. And as I said, we also can do that with Syria too. On top of that we organized in Cyprus in July a workshop for the call for universality in the Mediterranean, where all the bordering countries came. We invited these countries; they all came to the meeting. And that was a very good opportunity for them to be present in a workshop or two about chemical weapons, for them to make presentations, to listen, and to network. U.S., UK, [and EU officials] were also there and highly supportive, and I was delighted to see dialogues and hopefully a fruitful basis for continuing consideration of these matters. So I haven’t got much more than that to offer, but that’s considerably more than we had 48 months ago.

That’s an issue which, as I’ve mentioned before, there’s a problem here that the issue of security seemed almost global in terms of weapons of mass destruction, and therefore, it would appear that countries considered there’s no room for addressing the chemical issue unless you also address the nuclear. Since we all know that these are very complex issues, I don’t think anyone is holding his breath they would be solved tomorrow. I think that part of the things we are preaching, so to say, is that there should be a decoupling between the nuclear and the chemical. First of all, these are different categories of weapons. They have different relevance in security terms. Quite clearly, the effects on civilians, and the ability to decouple and to address them might have also a very beneficial effect in terms of confidence building. So, this is the sort of thing we are trying to do.

ACT: Now, there has been some talk in the past about Israel unilaterally joining the CWC without waiting for Egypt or Syria because of concerns about the economics effects of the convention: Israel is a heavily industrialized nation and they have a large chemical import/export industry. Has there been a lot of talk among the member states about addressing the issue of trade between CWC non-states-parties with respect to Schedule III chemicals?[15] Would limiting trade in toxic industrials chemicals provide the economic incentive for some countries to join, particularly Israel?

Pfirter: I think that is a pertinent question. I don’t see at this moment a possibility for further progress in terms of further movement concerning non-sales of Schedule III [to non-states-parties] or not. I mean, this is an issue on which there doesn’t appear to be the necessary consensus at this stage. But yet I think that the fact that the [CWC] has high relevance to industry, not just to military and security establishments, is a key component, and certainly something we should be observing. In the case of some of the countries who have joined the convention that we have seen, and I’m thinking particularly of two or three, it was the chemical industry that really pushed for the adherence to the convention. So there might be something to that. Although, of course, the relevance of the security question in the Middle East is such that I think that we are all too aware that it will play a key role ultimately in any decision that countries might take. But as we move on in trying to persuade these countries to join and I think that what you said is relevant, I think for Egypt too it is relevant. The fact that a chemical industry might find itself deprived of access to certain, sort of, inputs that it might need. So yes, I think that we should clear that up, too.

ACT: But you don’t see any movement?

Pfirter: I don’t see at this stage any political movement in the organization for addressing the Middle East question in terms of chemical weapons through that.

ACT: Have the successful U.S. and UK negotiations that led to the dismantling of Libya’s nuclear and chemical weapons program changed any of OPCW’s strategies for dealing with other states that are reluctant to join the CWC?

Pfirter: Well I think that that has shown what I said before, the complementarity between the collective and the bilateral. This is totally in line with the convention. I think that it was a very positive demonstration of how member states on their own can play a key role in assuring the rules of the convention are achieved, and how it is possible for an organization such as ours to interact with those countries without mixing our roles, but do so in a very fruitful way. This is what we have seen in the case of Libya, so I’m quite sure this is relevant for our time, and that’s why I also believe that aside from the efforts that we undertake collectively, or I as director-general bilaterally, the efforts which countries bilaterally, or regionally might take in negotiations with those outside I also think are important and much encouraged.

ACT: Can you tell us a little bit more about the status of the current EU joint action?

Pfirter: Well, that’s a very successful project. As you know they approved one action in the last year that we are implementing this year. We are hopeful here, particularly during the British presidency, the action will be renewed also next year.[16]

Now that action is basically aimed at two or three key issues. One is universality, the other is full implementation, and the other one is technical assistance in developing countries. And I think that three legs of this tripod are all functioning very, very well. We have regular meetings with the European Union because of course they like to monitor what is going on, I think that this has been satisfactory, and certainly I find that this is a very good way for providing additional means for the OPCW to work on specific cases on this issue that are very important.

ACT: Is there anything you would like to add that we have not touched on?

Pfirter: I would say that, I think what is important that the [CWC] has proven to be a successful experiment. My only appeal to everyone is that everyone does his best to try to ensure that it continues to be so. The full political support, adequate financial support, and full dedication to the implementation of the provisions of the convention—being Article IV, Article VI, Article VII, Article I—this is very, very important. I hope that there will be no loss of enthusiasm on that front. Obviously, I think we need to work also in order to ensure that the big possessor states fulfill their obligations. I must say in the case of the United States that I believe that the financial means, the political will, are all there, so I’m quite confident that the United States will ultimately be able to make it. What we have now to see is how Russia is able to reach that point. And that requires strong concrete determined action by Russia, and also the provision of financial support by the developed world—by the G8 and the Global Partnership.[17] So I hope that it will be possible with two elements: Russia’s own homework and the international financial support will both continue to be forthcoming and if anything even more forthcoming now as we approach the [2012] deadlines.


1. In February 2001, the Organization for the Prohibition for Chemical Weapons’ (OPCW) director-general Jose Bustani warned of looming financial crisis. Many states-parties had failed to pay their due, leading to OPCW to substantially its inspections of destruction activities and industry. See Jonathan Tucker, “The Chemical Weapons Convention: Has It Enhanced U.S. Security?” Arms Control Today, April 2001, pp. 8-12.

2. Kambarka and Maradykovsky are two of Russia’s seven chemical weapons stockpile sites. Russia has said that it plans to open the destruction facility at Kambarka by the end of 2005, where it will destroy about 6,400 metric tons of lewisite (a blister agent), representing about 15.9 percent of the total Russian chemical weapons stockpile. At Maradykovsky, Russia is planning to begin construction of a destruction facility in March 2006 to destroy the stockpiled nerve agents there, representing about 17.4 percent of the total Russian chemical weapons stockpile.

3. Organic Chemical Production Facilities or Discrete Organic Chemical Facilities are those that produce organic compounds through a chemical process, and include processes such as pharmaceutical manufacturing.

4. Upon declaring its chemical weapons stockpile, one state-party requested that its identity be withheld under Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) confidentially rules. Official OPCW documents refer to the country as “a State Party,” although it is widely believed to be South Korea.

5. The Eighth Conference of States Parties adopted October 2003 an action plan to assist states-parties in meaning their obligations under Article VII of the CWC, which requires among other things that a state-party identify a national authority to the OPCW, implement penal and administrative legislation, and deposit the text of the implementing legislation with the OPCW. States-parties agreed that under the plan, individual countries and the OPCW should provide any technical assistance needed, and at the Tenth Conference of States Parties in November 2005 would revisit the issue and consider any further action, including the possibility of punitive measures.

6. The UN Security Council unanimously passed UN Resolution 1540 April 2004, requiring all states to adopt and enforce “appropriate, effective” laws and measures, such as export and border controls, to prevent nonstate actors from acquiring biological, chemical, or nuclear weapons, as well as missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles designed to deliver such arms. What constitutes “appropriate” and “effective” is not specified, however, and is left up to each state to determine “in accordance with their national procedures.” See Wade Boese, “Security Council Unanimously Adopts Resolution on Denying Terrorists WMD,” Arms Control Today, May 2004, p. 34.

7. Russia and the United States have the two largest declared stockpiles of chemical weapons at 41,000 metric tons and 38,000 tons respectively. The CWC requires states-parties destroying their chemical weapon stockpiles to meet three interim deadlines of 1 percent, 20 percent and 45 percent and then complete the destruction 10 years after the convention enters into force. However, the CWC also permits states-parties to request a one-time, five-year extension. The date of this ultimate deadline is April 29, 2012. Both the United States and Russia have been granted the one-time extension in principle when they received extensions to the interim deadlines that exceeded the original 10-year deadline. Russia has destroyed less than 3 percent of its stockpile, while the United States has destroyed about 37 percent. See Michael Nguyen, “Pentagon Backs Off Chemical Weapons Destruction Study,” Arms Control Today, June 2005, pp. 37-38.

8. The implementing legislation for the CWC (Public Law 105-277) had several conditions contrary to the CWC. The two most controversial provisions prohibit an OPCW inspection team from removing any chemical samples from the United States for testing and a national security exception permitting the president to deny a challenge inspection request. Article XXII of the CWC prohibits subjecting its articles to reservations, or reservations to its annexes that are “incompatible with its object and purpose.”

9. Article IV addresses the disarmament obligations of states-parties to destroy their stockpiles of chemical weapons. Article VI addresses the nonproliferation obligations of the convention, including schedules of restricted chemicals and precursors. Article VII deals with national implementation obligations (see endnote 4). Article I deals with the general obligations of the states-parties to destroy their stockpiles and production facilities.

10. ACT interviewed then-U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Verification and Compliance Paula DeSutter in March 2004. The full transcript of the interview is available online at <>.

11. The U.S. Department of State released its annual “Adherence to and Compliance With Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments” August 25, 2005, which concluded “Iran is in violation of its CWC obligations because Iran is acting to retain and modernize key elements of its chemical weapons infrastructure to include an offensive chemical weapons research and development capability and dispersed mobilization facilities.” See Wade Boese, “ U.S. Names Alleged Treaty Violators,” Arms Control Today, October 2005, pp. 36-37.

12. Challenge inspections under the CWC allow one state-party to request an OPCW inspection of a declared or otherwise site in another state-party if there is question of compliance or accuracy of a declaration. The state-party being inspected cannot refuse the challenge inspection.

13. The CWC and its verification annex provide detailed procedures for a challenge inspection. The director-general must notify the state-party being inspected at least 12 hours before the arrival of the OPCW inspection team to the state-party’s designated point-of-entry. The state-party then has 36 hours (or 48 hours after the original notification) to transport the inspection team to the perimeter of the site to be inspected.

14. The European Commission, in concluding an EU-Syria Associate Agreement to enhance trade relations, required Syria to agree to a nonproliferation clause regarding weapons of mass destruction. See Paul Kerr, “EU Deepens Ties With Libya, Syria,” Arms Control Today, November 2004, p. 41.

15. The CWC characterizes chemicals according to their toxicity and military and commercial utility. Schedule III chemicals are used in large quantities by commercial industry, but also pose a nonproliferation risk as chemical weapons or precursors. Although the convention set restrictions on the trade of Schedule I and II chemicals with non-states-parties, Schedule 3 transfers are still permitted. The convention expected states-parties to consider restrictions five years after the convention’s entry into force, but no action was taken at the First Review Conference.

16. The United Kingdom currently holds the European Union presidency. The term begins in July 1 and concludes December 31 of this year.

17. The Global Partnership is a G8 initiative announced June 2002 at the Kananaskis Summit held in Canada to commit $20 billion over 10 years to threat reduction projects primarily in Russia.