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Thursday, April 18, 2024

U.S. Destroys Last Chemical Weapons Stockpile World News


president joe biden announced on Friday, U.S. Decades of stockpiles have been completely wiped out Chemical weapona milestone hailed as having completed the eradication of all known agents of mass death around the world.

Detonators are lined up for recycling as workers destroy the U.S. chemical weapons stockpile at the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot, Thursday, June 8, 2023, in Pueblo, Colorado. (Associated Press)

“Today, I am proud to announce that the United States has safely destroyed the last munitions in this stockpile, bringing us one step closer to a world free from the terror of chemical weapons,” Biden said.

The United States, the last signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention that came into force in 1997, has completed the task of destroying its “declared” stockpiles, although some countries are believed to still maintain clandestine stockpiles of chemical weapons.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons called the milestone a “historic success” in disarmament after more than a century of unrestrained use of chemical gases during World War I killed and maimed troops on a massive scale.

The OPCW said the US statement meant that all declared chemical weapons stockpiles in the world had been “verified as irreversibly destroyed”.

“I congratulate all States parties, especially the United States of America, for this significant achievement for the international community,” said OPCW Director-General Fernando Arias.

Biden said it was the first time “an entire class of declared weapons of mass destruction” has been confirmed to have been destroyed.

– Deadly Mustard Gas, Sarin, VX –

The news follows the recent completion of four years of work at Bluegrass Army Depot, a U.S. Army facility in Kentucky, that destroyed some 500 tons of the deadly chemical agent, the last remaining in the U.S. military’s possession.

For decades, the United States has stockpiled artillery shells and rockets containing mustard gas, VX and sarin nerve agents, and foaming agents.

The weapon was widely condemned after it was used in World War I with horrific results.

They were not heavily used in World War II, but many countries retained and further developed them in the ensuing years.

The most prominent use since the 1970s was Iraq’s use of nerve gas against Iran during the war in the 1980s.

More recently, the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria used chemical weapons against opponents during the civil war, according to the OPCW and others.

– double jeopardy work –

The Chemical Weapons Convention, reached in 1993 and entered into force in 1997, requires the United States to destroy all its chemical agents and munitions by September 30 this year.

According to the OPCW, other signatories to the agreement have already destroyed their weapons holdings — a total of about 72,000 tons since the treaty entered into force.

In 1990, the United States had nearly 28,600 tons of chemical weapons, the second-largest stockpile in the world after Russia, according to the Arms Control Association.

As the Cold War ended, the superpowers and others joined forces to negotiate the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Eliminating stockpiles is a slow process, and it’s a doubly jeopardy one because it means neutralizing not only the chemical agents, but also the munitions they contain.

Russia completed the destruction of its declared stockpiles in 2017.

The US has just under 600 tons left to destroy by April 2022.

Biden called for continued vigilance to ensure the destruction of all chemical weapons around the world, and called on the four countries that have not yet signed or ratified the treaty — Egypt, Israel, North Korea and South Sudan — to do so.

Currently, four signatories are considered non-compliant for allegedly possessing undeclared stockpiles: Myanmar, Iran, Russia and Syria.

“Russia and Syria should return to compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention and recognize their undeclared programs that have been used to commit blatant atrocities and attacks,” Biden said.


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