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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Chemical Weapons ‘Indestructible’ Russia Warns

RIA Novosti

19:53 08/11/2012 MOSCOW, November 8 (RIA Novosti) - Chemical weapons cannot be completely thrown out of the stockpiles of the world’s leading powers even though they are banned, the head of Russia’s Radiation, Chemical, and Biological Defense Forces, said on Thursday.

The Chemical Weapons Convention, in force since April 29, 1997, has been joined by 188 of 195 UN member states.

“This type of weaponry cannot be completely excluded from the arsenals of warfare because analysis of the multi-billion spending, both in the United States and other Western countries, on the development of new combat agents, which fall under the provisions of the Convention, shows that this work is ongoing,” force commander Maj. Gen. Yevgeny Starkov said in an interview with Rossia 24 TV.

New means of protection against biological agents are being developed in the world, which are essentially dual use technology that can be used to produce new agents, he said.

Some of these developments, especially in the area of genetic engineering, can hinder or neutralize the efforts to counter new agents, the general warned.

He offered no indication of whether that could affect Russia’s obligation to destroy 100 percent of its chemical weapons.

As of May this year, Russia destroyed about 25,000 metric tons of its chemical weapons, or 62 percent of its stockpile. In 15 years Russia has destroyed about two-thirds of its 40,000-metric-ton stockpile, which had been the world's largest. The goal is to destroy 100 percent of the chemical weapons in Russia by 2015.

Russia and the United States have 40,000 and 27,000 metric tons of chemical weapons, respectively. The US said it has destroyed about 90 percent of its chemical weapons. The Department of Defense, however, postponed the deadline for destroying the remaining 2,000 metric tons first until 2021 and then until 2023.

As of January 31, 2012, more than 50,000 metric tons of chemical weapons, or 73 percent of the global stockpile, had been destroyed.

Myanmar and Israel have signed the Convention, but are yet to ratify it. Only Angola, North Korea, Egypt, Somalia and Syria are still outside the Convention. The countries that have officially admitted to having chemical weapons are Albania, Libya, Iraq, India, Russia, the United States and South Korea.

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