OPCW Chiefs Ponder Chemical Arms Deadlines

By Meier, Oliver | Arms Control Today, January/February 2010 | Go to article overview

OPCW Chiefs Ponder Chemical Arms Deadlines


Meier, Oliver, Arms Control Today


A possible failure by Russia and the United States to meet a 2012 deadline set by the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) for the destruction of chemical weapons stockpiles does not call into question the commitment of states-parties to the eventual elimination of chemical weapons, the current and future chiefs of the treaty's implementing body said in December.

Rogelio Pfirter of Argentina, outgoing director-general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), and his designated successor, Ahmet Üzümcü of Turkey, made the comments during and just after the organization's annual meeting in Geneva Nov. 30-Dec. 4.

Russia and the United States are by far the biggest possessors of chemical weapons. Since the CWC entered into force, member states have declared about 70,000 tons of chemical weapons, with Russian and U.S. stockpiles accounting for more than 95% of that total. Under the CWC, Russia and the United States are obligated to eliminate their stocks by April 29, 2012. Yet, the United States has already announced that it will be unable to meet the 2012 date, and there are doubts about Russia's ability to do so. (See ACT, July/August 2009.) At the meeting, Russia announced that it has met a Dec. 31, 2009, intermediate deadline and destroyed 45 percent of its stockpile. The United States has destroyed more than 65 percent of its stockpile, according to an Oct. 7 OPCW report.

In a Dec. 3 conference call with journalists, Üzümcü said that the commitments of both countries to the destruction of their chemical weapons stockpiles are "unwavering" and that the problems they have encountered in meeting treaty deadlines for destruction are "more technical ones than political ones."

Pfirter, in a Dec. 14 interview with Arms Control Today, said the CWCs core purpose is "to ensure the full, irreversible, complete and universal destruction of existing stockpiles by possessor states." Russian or U.S. inability to meet the 2012 destruction deadline would not mean that "we run the risk of that central objective being violated by the two major possessor states," he said. He argued that "we need not. ..make the ultimate success of the treaty dependent on any particular date."

Pfirter welcomed the OPCW Executive Council's October decision to ask the council's chairman, Jorge Lomónaco Tonda of Mexico, to begin informal consultations on how and when to initiate discussion on issues related to meeting the "final extended deadlines" for the destruction of chemical weapons. "The fact that the council has chosen to act in the way it has chosen indicates to me that people indeed share this view of moving on prudently," Pfirter said.

At the OPCW meeting, members adopted a council recommendation to approve an extension of Libya's deadline for the destruction of its chemical weapons to May 15, 2011. (See ACT, November 2009.) They also followed the council's lead by unanimously agreeing to appoint Üzümcü as the next director-general. He will begin his four-year term July 25.

Achieving Universality

During the conference call, Üzümcü emphasized that Turkey "has good relations" with Egypt, Israel, and Syria, the three Middle Eastern states that are not parties to the CWC. Üzümcü has served as Turkey's ambassador to Israel and has also been posted to Syria. He said that as director-general he hopes to use "those relations and contacts to discuss this issue from a constructive perspective and try to persuade [Egypt, Israel, and Syria] to soon join the convention."

The CWC currently has 188 states-parties. Israel and Myanmar have signed but not ratified the treaty; Angola, Egypt, North Korea, Somalia, and Syria are nonsignatories.

Pfirter said that Angola might join the convention very soon. "I'm hopeful about Angola because I don't believe there is any issue behind the delay or at least not any issue related to the objectives and purposes of the convention," he said. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

OPCW Chiefs Ponder Chemical Arms Deadlines
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.