Is Russia to destroy chemical weapon stocks by 2012?

Russia appeals to extend till 2012 the term granted to it for destroying chemical weapon stocks.

Sergei Kiriyenko, head of the Russian delegation at the conference of the Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) underway in the Hague, stated that the Russian proposal to extend the term is a "forced measure." At the same time, he expressed the Russian side's readiness to regularly provide OPCW members with information about the implementation of the Russian programme of chemical disarmament.

In compliance with the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons signed in 1933, Russia should destroy its chemical weapon stocks before April 29, 2007.

Kiriyenko reported that in 2002 government financing of the federal programme for the elimination of chemical weapons was increased 20-fold compared with 2000. In 2001 Russia destroyed all its stocks of chemical weapons of the 2nd and 3rd categories ahead of schedule. "Currently, we have no means of delivery of combat toxins. Equipment for their use in the battle field had been removed from artillery shells, aviation bombs, and missile warheads and destroyed," Kiriyenko emphasised.

The head of the Russian delegation thanked the governments of Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and other states for assistance rendered in destroying chemical weapon stocks. At the same time, he noted that the international help to Russia in the sphere of chemical disarmament does not exceed 10 percent of the amount Russia spends for this purpose.

During its stay in the Hague the Russian delegation held consultations with U.S. representatives on assistance in construction of the Shchuchye testing ground in the Kurgan region (West Siberia), where it is planned to destroy a major part of Russian chemical weapons.

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