U.S. says it is on pace for weapons destruction

The U.S. representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons recently spoke in The Hague, Netherlands, about U.S. participation and the need to increase membership in the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Robert P. Mikulak, the U.S. Permanent Representative to the Sixteenth Session of the Conference of the States Parties, announced that the United States has destroyed more than 27 metric tons of chemical weapons and eliminated all of its former chemical weapons production facilities, according to State.gov.

“I am pleased to announce that since we met last December, the United States has completed destruction activities at two more stockpile sites,” Mikulak said, State.gov reports. “On September 22, 2011, the United States completed destruction of all chemical weapons at the Anniston Chemical Agent Disposal Facility in Alabama. And on October 25, 2011, the United States completed destruction of its chemical weapons stockpile at Umatilla, Oregon.”

Mikulak reported that the United States has now completed destruction operations at six facilities and has two under construction. It expects the Tooele, Utah, facility to be finished with operations by the April 2012 extended deadline.

To date, the United States has spent nearly $24 billion on the destruction of its chemical weapons stockpiles.

The U.S representative also urged the OPCW to do more to bring remaining non-members into the convention.

“Bringing the seven remaining non-member states, particularly those that may possess chemical weapons, into the Convention, is also clearly essential to realize its objectives fully,” Mikulak said, according to State.gov. “Realistically, this will depend more on geopolitical developments than on continued demarches. We should patiently continue to lay the groundwork by efforts at engagement with each of the non-States Parties and take every opportunity to stress that there is no justification for any country to keep the option to have chemical weapons.”