Pugwash Welcomes the Completion of Chemical Weapons Destruction by Russia
28 Sep 2017 – The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed on 27 September that the verified destruction of those chemical weapons possessed by the Russian Federation has been completed. Pugwash welcomes this important achievement and congratulates the Russian Federation and the OPCW for their efforts, as well as the many countries and experts who have assisted in this program.
The Russian Federation became party to the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1997 as the owner of the world’s largest arsenal of these weapons of mass destruction. Its complete verifiable elimination under the Convention testifies to the effectiveness of multilateral and cooperative approaches to disarmament, embodied in the carefully negotiated treaty language. Moreover, the fact that Russia decided to bring its chemical arsenal down to zero without waiting for another major possessor – the US – to do the same shows that strong belief in the deterrent role of these weapons, which used to be an important factor during negotiations on the Chemical Weapons Ban in Geneva, can give way to mutual trust, developed step-by-step in the process of treaty implementation.
Now the goal of a chemical-weapons-free-world is much nearer. To achieve it, it is necessary to accelerate the destruction of chemical weapons elsewhere, to ensure the 100% universality of the Chemical Weapons Convention, and to further improve safeguards against any re-emergence of chemical weapons on the basis of traditional and new technologies and against any attempts by any actors to get hold of or to use these prohibited weapons.
Sergio Duarte, a Brazilian Ambassador, is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment; President of [1995 Nobel Peace Laureate] Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs; former UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs; former Chairman of the Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons; and former President of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Pugwash seeks a world free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. We create opportunities for dialogue on the steps needed to achieve that end, focusing on areas where nuclear risks are present. Moving beyond rhetoric, we foster creative discussions on ways to increase the security of all sides in the affected regions.
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