The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) announced Thursday that a major milestone has been reached in the destruction of global chemical weapons.
OPCW Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü reported 90 percent of declared chemical weapons have been destroyed, as has been verified by the organization. Cold War stockpiles are also in the process of being eliminated in both the U.S. and Russian Federation, with elimination expected to be completed by 2020 in the U.S. and in 2023 for Russia.
“This is a major milestone that shows we are well on the way to ridding the world of chemical weapons,” Üzümcü said.
Stockpiles that have been destroyed include unitary weapons such as sulfur mustard, and developmental chemicals that can lead to the creation of deadly nerve agents. The OPCW reports that chemical weapons have been disposed of in a safe manner.
Currently six nations sit outside of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC): North Korea, Israel, Egypt, Angola, Myanmar and South Sudan. Recent reports state that parliaments of Angola and Myanmar have approved measures that would have them join the convention.
The CWC is an international agreement that prohibits the development, use and research into chemical weapons. It does allow for research into defensive mechanisms against weapons that are chemical in nature.