CWC Conference Meets, Extends Deadline for Russia
Brugger, Seth, Arms Control Today
RUSSIA RECEiVED AN extension of a Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) deadline to destroy 1 percent of its Category 1 chemical weapons by April 29 from the fifth Conference of States Parties, held May 15 to 19. The decision effectively merges the missed deadline with the convention's next deadline-the destruction of 20 percent of Category 1 (the highest "risk" category) chemical weapons by April 29, 2002. The CWC allows states-parties until April 29, 2007, to destroy all their chemical weapons, a goal a recent General Accounting Office (GAO) report says the United States will have trouble meeting.
Although Russia missed the first deadline, in his opening statement to the conference, Jose Bustani, director-general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the CWC's implementing body, commented favorably on Russian chemical demilitarization efforts. "Russia is no longer outside the destruction activities envisaged by the convention. It has submitted to the secretariat plans for the destruction of Category 2 and 3 chemical weapons-i.e., of powder and burster charges for chemical munitions," he said. Bustani also noted that if these items were destroyed as planned, the Russian chemical weapons (CW) stockpile would be "effectively taken off alert" within the next two years. …