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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 20, November 1997

Russia Ratifies CWC

On 5 November, Russia became the 104th State to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). The Treaty, signed in 1993, entered into force on 29 April 1997. See Documents and Sources for comment and reaction. Ratification required the approval of both Houses of Parliament, as well as Presidential signature. On 31 October, the lower House, the Duma, approved the Treaty by 288 votes to 75. On 5 November, the Upper House, the Senate or Federation Council, approved the Treaty unanimously. That evening, President Yeltsin gave his approval.

Russia is reported to possess around 40,000 tons of chemical weapons. The Government has allocated $86 million in 1998 and $13 million in 1999 to commence the destruction of stocks - the total bill is anticipated to be around $6 billion. Under the terms of the Treaty, all stocks will have to be destroyed within 10 years of becoming a State Party.

Speaking after the Senate vote, Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov noted: "The measure fully corresponds to the interests of Russia and the stability of the whole world... We have much stronger deterrents [than chemical weapons]... As far as economics are concerned, if we didn't join the Convention we'd still have to spend about $30 billion to destroy chemical weapons that are already old or getting old."

Reports: Russian House ratifies chem arms ban, United Press International, 31 October; Russian House agrees on chemical arms ban, Reuters, 5 November; Russia ratifies chemical arms ban, Reuters, 6 November; Yeltsin signs chemical weapons ban, Associated Press, 6 November.

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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