Will the Terms of Destroying Russian Chemical Weapons be Extended?

The 7th conference of the Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has not yet given a positive answer to Russia's request to extend till 2012 the terms of destroying its chemical weapon stocks. This was disclosed Thursday by Major-General Nikolai Bezborodov, a member of the Russian delegation at the OPCW conference.

According to him, the conference, which completes its work Friday, has only agreed to consider the issue on extending the terms of the first and the second stages of destroying Russian chemical weapons. The decision on the term of expiry of these two stages will be made at the 8th conference of the OPCW next year.

Bezborodov also reported that the USA refuses to allocate funds promised to Russia for the construction of facilities to utilise chemical arsenals. Consultations with members of the U.S. delegation at the OPCW conference reveal that the U.S. administration will consider the issue of funds allocation only in 2003. This will complicate considerably Russia's ability to keep within the terms stipulated by the Convention for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, i.e. before 2007, Bezborodov noted.

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