Disarmament DiplomacyIssue No. 60, September 2001
Russia Admits Neglect of CW Destruction Issue
On September 6, former Russian Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko conceded that Moscow had until recently given inadequate attention to the mammoth task of dismantling the country's 44,000-ton chemical weapons stockpile. Kiriyenko, now heading the Presidential Commission overseeing the destruction of the stockpile, told reporters: "We certainly understand that insofar as Russia, in the period from 1997...until 2000, did not devote itself to the problem, we ourselves are guilty."
Under the terms of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), ratified by Russia in November 1997, states parties with chemical weapons are obligated to complete a phased elimination of all stocks within ten years of acceding to the accord. The Convention, however, also makes provision for a single five-year extension to be granted in demonstrably exceptional circumstances. On June 14, the Russian Cabinet approved a new destruction plan setting a target date of 2012.
Note: for an excellent summary of the new plan and the situation at Russian facilities, see Jonathan B. Tucker, 'Russia's New Plan for Chemical Weapons Destruction', in Arms Control Today, July/August 2001 (http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2001_07-08/tuckerjul_aug01.asp).
Reports: Extension sought to destroy weapons, Associated Press, September 6; Russia seeks more time to disarm, Associated Press, September 6.
© 2001 The Acronym Institute.