Remarks by ACA International Representative Oliver Meier, June 8, 2010 during a "Perspectives from NGOs" panel at a conference on the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
The likely failure of Russia and the United States, the holders of the world's largest stockpiles of chemical weapons, to meet a key treaty deadline for destroying their stocks is prompting varying responses from experts. In recent public statements and interviews, officials involved in the process emphasized the progress and commitment of the two countries, while independent experts expressed concern about the effect of the missed deadline on the nonproliferation regime. (Continue)
Russia and the United States have announced measures to step up destruction of their chemical weapons stockpiles. The Department of Defense plans to speed up construction of the Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky and the Pueblo Chemical Depot in Colorado. The two facilities are key to meeting the congressionally mandated destruction deadline of 2017. The fiscal year 2009 defense budget provides $427.5 million to the Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives program, an increase of $20 million from last year. Three U.S. destruction facilities have already completed their task, with four more in Alabama, Arkansas, Oregon, and Utah expected to conclude between 2015 and 2017. Nonetheless, this plan would lead to U.S. chemical weapons stockpiles continuing to exist well beyond the 2012 destruction deadline for all chemical weapons mandated by the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). The United States is a CWC state-party. (Continue)
The United States has completed destruction of chemical weapons agents at Newport Chemical Depot in Newport, Ind. The milestone, announced by the Army Chemical Materials Agency Aug. 11, means that destruction has been completed at three of the seven sites that had housed such agents in 1997 when the United States joined the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). (Continue)
The second review conference for the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) only barely avoided failure. The meeting, which took place April 7-18 in The Hague, had to be suspended at midnight of the last day, and diplomats worked until the early morning of April 19 to reach agreement. (Continue)
I hear a dull thud. A blue mist comes floating across the frosty fields. In the field behind the cemetery, the DOVO, the Belgian War Munition Demolition Service, has blown up another heap of First World War ammunition. They do it twice a day, one and a half tons a year. When the farmers find grenades, they leave them at the base of the utility masts, and the miners collect them. And so it goes on here. Generation after generation, this soil continues to vomit up grenades, buttons, buckles, knives, skulls, bottles, rifles, sometimes even a whole tank. The Great War never ends. (Continue)