Chemical Weapons Convention
Comoros and the Central African Republic are the two latest states to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), agreeing not to develop, produce, stockpile, or use chemical weapons. Comoros became the 179th state-party Aug. 18, and the Central African Republic will become the 180th state-party Oct. 20. Both states signed the CWC in January 1993 a few days after the convention opened for signature. Preparation has begun for the CWC's Second Review Conference, which will be held April 7-18, 2008, in The Hague. The conference's Open-Ended Working Group, chaired by Ambassador Lyn Parker, the permanent representative of the United Kingdom, held its first meeting July 7. The CWC entered into force in 1997, and the first review conference took place in 2003.
Conference on Disarmament
On Sept. 15, the 65-nation Conference on Disarmament ended its annual three-part session in Geneva. Conference participants for the eighth consecutive year failed to begin any negotiations. However, the conference, which operates by consensus, for the first time held a series of focused discussions covering all issues on its agenda, including nuclear disarmament, prevention of an arms race in outer space, negative security assurances, and a fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT). The United States had insisted that the conference agree solely to work on an FMCT, but other members refused, calling for action on other issues as well. …