Russia urges rest of foreign aid to destroy chemical weapons
31/10/2007 14:14 MOSCOW, October 31 (RIA Novosti) - Western states have only provided 25% of $2 billion promised to help Russia destroy its stockpiles of chemical weapons by 2012, a deputy head of the federal industry agency said on Wednesday.
Russia signed the Chemical Weapons Convention, which bans the development, production, stockpiling, transfer, and use of chemical arms in 1993 and ratified it in 1997. The country is to destroy all its declared arsenal of 40,000 metric tons of chemical weapons by 2012.
Western nations pledged at the 2002 Kananaskis G8 summit to help Russia financially and technologically destroy its chemical weapons and production facilities, or convert them as part of the Global Partnership against the Proliferation of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction.
"Under the Global Partnership, western countries have provided 25% of about $2 billion promised to finance the chemical disarmament program," Viktor Kholstov said, speaking at a public forum devoted to the problem.
Kholstov said next year foreign aid for the purpose would total about $240 million, which he said was "an insignificant inflow of funds."
As of this fall, Russia has destroyed over 20% of its stockpiles of chemical weapons, or 8,000 metric tons. The country is to bring the figure up to 45% by the end of 2009 and finish the process by 2012, the extended deadline for Russia, as well as the United States, which have the largest stockpiles of chemical weapons.
Kholstov said the government had allocated 27 billion rubles (about $2 billion) for the program in 2007, the 10th anniversary of joining the convention. He said next year the budget allocations would decline without elaborating.
Russia has spent a total of $7.18 billion of budget funds on the program and built at least three chemical weapons destruction plants. Moscow has received aid from countries, including the United States, Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Canada.
An official overseeing the safety of storage and elimination of chemical weapons, Andrei Shevchenko, said on Tuesday Russia had demolished eight production and storage facilities - all planned for destruction - and 15 of a total of 24 facilities have been converted to produce civilian products.
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