Albania Special Weapons
In July 2007, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed that Albania had become the first country to have destroyed its declared Chemical Weapons. In 2003 Albania declared a small stockpile of chemical weapons to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons that oversees the Chemical Weapons Convention. The weapons, containing "very old" mustard agent, were found in some of the thousands of scattered bunkers built during Albania's communist era. Prior to Libya's heralded declaration of its chemical arsenal in March 2004, Albania was the last country to declare a chemical weapons stockpile to the organization.
Prior to this declaration, there was no indication in the open literature that Albania had chemical weapons.
On October 21, 2004 President Bush obligated funds for the destruction of chemical warfare agents stockpiled in Albania and named the US Department of Defense as the government agency to carry out the project. The funds for the project come from the so-called Nunn-Lugar program -- also known as the U.S. Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Program -- that is aimed at dismantling weapons of mass destruction.
Albania was, according to the State Department, reported to have approximately 16 tons of bulk chemical agent that were to be destroyed pursuant to the Chemical Weapons Convention. According to a US State Department Spokesman, Albania "fully cooperated with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in identifying the chemical weapons stockpile, in making a full stockpile declaration, in ensuring the stockpile is secure and in moving toward destruction as rapidly as possible." The country had askedasked for U.S. assistance in destroying the stockpiles with the US Department of Defense, being responsible for the program and working toward both developing an implementation plan and overseeing agent destruction which was scheduled to take place by the CWC convention-mandated deadline of April 29th, 2007. The plan would call for the movement of a U.S.-supplied portable chemical weapons destruction capability into Albania, the conduct of chemical weapons destruction operations by U.S. contractors, and the return of the portable capability back to the U.S. upon completion of the destruction.
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