UN Briefed On Chemical Arms Treaty | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 85 Issue 44 | p. 24 | Concentrates
Issue Date: October 29, 2007

UN Briefed On Chemical Arms Treaty

Department: Government & Policy

Credit: opcw

The United Nation's so-called First Committee on disarmament and related international security matters met the week of Oct. 19 to hear about implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, among other issues. Rogelio Pfirter, director-general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the treaty's implementing group, spoke of progress made and challenges remaining. He noted that more than 30% of the known existing stockpiles of chemical weapons have been destroyed, but that it took 10 years to accomplish. This means the remaining 70% must be destroyed in five years to meet the treaty deadline of 100% destruction by 2012. Pfirter called this "an enormous challenge," and an expensive one to boot when appropriate safety precautions are employed. On the plus side, Pfirter noted that OPCW had created an effective verification regime. By OPCW's tally, more than 1,800 on-site inspections had taken place at weapons destruction facilities, mainly in the U.S. and Russia, and another 1,300 inspections had occurred at industrial facilities in 80 countries.

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