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The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) ended
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) ended its 13th session (December 2-5) in The Hague, the Netherlands.

The Russian delegation took an active part in discussing problems associated with the destruction of chemical weapons. It was headed by the chairman of the government chemical disarmament commission, Presidential Envoy to the Volga Federal District Grigory Rapota.

He was appointed to head the delegation because Russia's main chemical weapons depots (which once amounted to 40,000 metric tons), and the majority of facilities for chemical weapons destruction (including the existing ones and those under construction) are located in this district and adjacent territories.

Mr. Rapota reported in The Hague that by early December Russia had destroyed 11,842 metric tons of chemical weapons, which amounts to 29.8% of all stockpiles, and is planning to bring this figure to 45% by the end of the next year.

The Russian government allocated about 1 billion euros for the purpose, the same amount as last year. Mr. Rapota expressed his gratitude to the European Union, Britain, Ireland, Italy, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, the United States, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, and France for assistance in the construction of chemical weapons destruction facilities. Russia receives about 15% of the required financial aid from these countries.

However, some analysts believe that Mr. Rapota may have thanked some of these countries too soon.

Senior research fellow at the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO), Natalya Kalinina (Ph.D.), maintains that the task of destroying chemical weapons may prove to be less simple than the government might think. Russia may be late in implementing the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) because some of the countries have not given the promised financial aid.

Having promised 360 million euros for the Pochep facility, Italy has not yet given a cent. The Swiss government has earmarked $1.2 million for its construction, but this is inadequate. A facility near Bryansk stores 19% of all Russian chemical weapons stockpiles. Under the plan, it must go into operation in 2010. Otherwise, Russia may fail to keep the schedule for chemical weapons destruction by December 2012.

Professor Kalinina said the United States is also slow in fulfilling its promises. She believes that Washington, which itself is not coping with its commitments under the convention, is deliberately delaying its contribution to prevent Russia from eliminating its chemical weapons by the end of 2012. So, Moscow should itself set an example for the world community.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.


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