President Putin's Plenipotentiary: We Can Dispose of Chemical Weapons with or without America's Help

Sergei Kiriyenko, the Plenipotentiary of the President of Russia in the Privolzhsky Federal District, the head of the federal commission for disposing of chemical weapons, said, 'We will destroy chemical weapons with or without help from the Americans'. At this time, Mr. Kiriyenko is inspecting the construction of a plant in the village of Gorny, the Saratov Region, where chemical weapons will be destroyed.

He further said, 'The US military are maintaining the destruction of our chemical weapons is Russia's domestic problem. Sure, we may lose their assistance. Yet regardless of what the Americans do, we will destroy our chemical weapons with or without their help. In the latter case, it will be done slower but it will be done because we are talking about poison that still remains in our land. We have no right to sacrifice safety to speed, so we will do it as fast as we can while maintaining total safety'.

The total estimated worth of the program for disposing of Russia's chemical weapons is over USD 3 milliard. Mr. Kirienko says the destruction of the weapons is far more expensive than their production. About USD 2 milliard is allocated in Russia's budget up to the year 2012 for the carrying out of the project. The rest of the money is supposed to come as assistance from other countries. Under the agreement signed with the US, Russia is supposed to receive USD 880 million, of which USD 190 million has been paid out.

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