For immediate release: January 11, 2010
Press contact: Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, (202) 463-8270 x 107
(Washington, D.C.) Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) garnered the highest number of votes in an online poll to determine the "2009 Arms Control Person of the Year." Nine other individuals, institutions, and country groups were nominated by the staff of the Arms Control Association.
Lugar was nominated for "his long-running support for U.S. financial contributions to assist with the construction of Russia's chemical weapons demilitarization complex, which began work this year to neutralize about 2 million shells and warheads stored nearby that are loaded with VX, sarin and soman."
"The international vote selecting Richard Lugar acknowledges the Senator's work last year, and clearly celebrates his multi-decade commitment to reducing Cold War legacy weapons," said Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association.
"The opening of the Shchuchye site was an important development in 2009 because it will accelerate the destruction of millions of dangerous and obsolete chemical weapons," Kimball added. See http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2009_04/CWdestruction
"His leadership, along with Senator Sam Nunn's, was instrumental in founding the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program that is still working to secure dangerous former Soviet nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and can serve as a model for related efforts around the globe," Kimball said.
In 1999, Senator Lugar visited Shchuchye and demonstrated the proliferation danger of chemical weapons by placing a VW-filled shell in a briefcase (pictured). After more than $1 billion in U.S. aid, the site became operational in 2009 with Lugar attending its official opening ceremony in May. See http://lugar.senate.gov/newsletter/2009/06/feature.html.
"The longstanding effort to regulate the global arms trade made progress in 2009 when the international community set a date for negotiating a legally binding treaty," said Jeff Abramson, Arms Control Association deputy director. "Ambassador García Moritán deserves great credit for keeping the international process on track," he added.
Other leading vote-getters included President Barack Obama, and Antoly Antonov and Rose Gottemoeller--the Russian and U.S. negotiators involved in efforts to conclude a nuclear reduction treaty to replace the now-expired START accord.
The online poll was open between Dec. 21, 2009 and Jan. 8, 2010, garnering votes from more than 850 individuals around the globe. For the list of all 2009 nominees, see http://www.armscontrol.org/pressroom/2009personofyearvote.