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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 52, November 2000

Finland Support for Russian CW Storage Facility

In Moscow on October 26, officials from the Russian Defence and Finnish Foreign Ministries signed an agreement for the supply by Finland of a technical control system for lewisite storage at the Russian chemical weapons storage facility at Kambarka in the Udmart Republic. A Russian Foreign Ministry statement noted:

"Like several other European countries, Finland renders free-of-charge assistance to Russia in fulfilling its obligations assumed under the Chemical Weapons Convention. The Government of Finland has contributed six million Finnish markkas (about $1.2 million). ... The Finnish equipment will make it possible to improve monitoring at the chemical weapons storage facility and increase environmental safety in the settlements located near the chemical arsenal in Kambarka."

Notes: the terms of the CWC require Russia to complete the elimination of its estimated 44,000 metric tons stockpile of chemical weapons by 2007, ten years after the Convention' entry into force. Russia has frequently appealed for international assistance in its elimination programme, still in its preliminary stages and expected to cost at least $6 billion.

To President Clinton' dismay, the US FY 2001 Defense Authorization Act withheld funding for Russia' principal chemical weapon destruction facility in Shchuch' According to the President (October 30): "It is vital to US security and non-proliferation interests to work with Russia to eliminate the 5,450 tons of modern, nerve agent munitions at this site. I urge the Congress to restore funding for this critical threat reduction programme next year."

Report: Russian Foreign Ministry Statement, Document 1152-26-10-2000, October 26; Statement by the President, The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, October 30.

© 2000 The Acronym Institute.