U.S. to assist in destruction of Russian chemical weapons

The U.S. will continue to assist Russia with the destruction of its chemical weapon reserves, general director of the Russian Ammunition Agency Viktor Kholstov said.

In meetings with relevant agencies in Washington, "the prospects of cooperation" were discussed, said Kholstov. "This interaction is in line with agreements reached by the presidents of Russia and the U.S.," the head of the Russian Ammunition Agency said.

Kholstov met with high-ranking representatives of the U.S. National Security Council, the Pentagon and the State Department. A meeting with head of the Senate foreign relations commission Richard Lugar is also planned.

Viktor Kholstov said that the Americans were satisfied with Russia's progress toward fulfilling the conditions of the Chemical Weapons Convention (Russia must destroy all of its chemical weapons by 2012). In particular, they were pleased that Russia destroyed about 600 tons of mustard gas at a facility in Gorny (the Saratov Region).

"The Americans will mainly assist in the construction of a facility in Shchuchye (the Kurgan Region in Transuralia). This year the U.S. has allocated $228 million to aid Russia in destroying its chemical weapon reserves.

Other countries, including Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, Finland, Sweden and Switzerland are currently assisting or will assist Russia in this as well, Kholstov said.

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