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In accordance with the three-decade-old Chemical Weapons Convention, President Joe Biden declared on Friday that the US has completely destroyed its decades-old chemical weapons stockpiles.
Bringing us one step closer to a world free from the horrors of chemical weapons, Biden stated, “Today, I am delighted to announce that the United States has successfully destroyed the final munition in that stockpile.
The work of eliminating their “declared” stockpiles of chemical weapons was last completed by the United States among the signatories to the Chemical Weapons Convention, however some are thought to still have hidden stocks.
It is the first time a global organisation has confirmed the elimination of an entire class of acknowledged WMDs, according to a statement by President Biden.
The statement followed the recent completion of a four-year project by the US Army’s Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky to destroy the final batch of 500 tonnes of deadly chemical agents.
The US had long-standing stocks of rockets and artillery projectiles that were loaded with blister agents, mustard gas, and nerve agents like VX and sarin.
Following their horrific usage on the front lines of World War I, such weapons were highly denounced.
However, in the years that followed, numerous nations continued to use and develop them.
According to the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention, which went into effect in 1997, the United States has until September 30 of this year to destroy all of its chemical weapons and agents.
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) chief, Fernando Arias, stated in May that other accord members had already destroyed their stockpiles.
That just left the United States to finish the job, he claimed.
Under the direction of the OPCW, “more than 70,000 tonnes of the world’s most dangerous poisons have been destroyed,” he claimed.
The US Arms Control Association estimates that in 1990, the US had the second-largest stockpile of chemical weapons in the world, behind Russia, with close to 28,600 tonnes.
In order to negotiate the Chemical Weapons Convention, the superpowers and other nations came together as the Cold War came to an end.
It took time to completely eliminate the stockpiles, which is risky because it requires neutralising both the chemical agents and the weapons they are hidden inside.
2017 saw the completion of Russia’s destruction of its own stated stockpiles.
Less than 600 tonnes remained for the US to eliminate by April 2022.
The few nations that have not ratified the treaty, according to Biden, should do so in order to ensure continuous vigilance in the effort to remove all chemical weapons in the world.
Biden stated that “Russia and Syria should resume compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention and admit their undeclared programmes, which have been used to commit blatant atrocities and attacks.”