Planet's stockpile of chemical weapons slashed

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons announced on July 8 that more 60 percent of weapons declared to it by states under the Chemical Weapons Convention have been eliminated.

The OPCW’s technical secretariat verified that 41,692 tons of Category 1 weapons have been destroyed in the seven possessor states that entered the convention in 1997. All of the weapons of Albania, India and an anonymous state party have been declared destroyed.

“Reaching this milestone is surely the OPCW’s main achievement to date, bringing us ever closer to realizing the vision of a world free of these horrific weapons,” Ambassador Rogelio Pfirter, the OPCW Director-General, said. “The strong commitment shown by the possessor States in fulfilling their obligations proves that complete chemical disarmament under the terms of the Convention is indeed an attainable goal, and has made a significant contribution to international peace and security.”

Since the CEC entered into force in 1997, 188 states have joined. These states comprise 98 percent of the world’s population and chemical weapons producing capacity, according to the OPCW.

The two members with the largest stockpiles - the U.S. and Russia - have met their intermediate goals under the convention. Russia has eliminated 48 percent of its stockpiles and the U.S. has eliminated 75 percent. Both countries have made it clear that they will not meet the total elimination deadline of April 29, 2012.

The two most recent convention members, Iraq, which joined in 2009, and Libya, which joined in 2004, have yet to commence any destruction program.