December 8, 2011
U.S. escapes penalties for missing weapons destruction deadline
By Ronica Shannon
Register News Writer
The U.S. will not be sanctioned or penalized for missing the extended deadline of April 29, 2012, for destruction of its chemical weapons.
Last week, Craig Williams, director of the Berea-based Chemical Weapons Working Group, attended the Conference of State Parties of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hauge, Netherlands when the decision was made.
The U.S., Russia and Libya had previously acknowledged they would not be able to meet the the treaty-mandated deadline.
The conference voted 101-1 against sanctions, with Iran casting the only “no’ vote.
“Other than political grandstanding by Iran, there was consensus on the good-faith efforts of the U.S. to continue destroying weapons,” Williams said.
He returned Friday with the news.
“By allowing continued disposal without placing economic sanctions on the U.S. is a welcome development,” Williams said. “It allows safety and environmental compliance to continue to get the highest priority within the program, not impacts on trade and other pressures that sanctions would bring.”
However, the OPCW is requiring all countries still storing chemical weapons to meet immediately after the April 29, 2012, treaty-mandated deadline, Williams said.
The three possessor nations were be required then to deliver a “detailed plan for the destruction of their remaining chemical weapons, which are to be destroyed in the shortest time possible,” the declaration states.
“The plans must offer specific dates by which chemical weapons disposal operations are expected to be completed,” Williams said. “The states must then undertake necessary activities to meet those schedules.”
Williams soon share more details of whathe learned at the international conference.
He will present “Destroying Kentucky’s Chemical Weapons: An Update,” Tuesday, Dec. 13, at 7 p.m. in the Madison County Library, 319 Chestnut Street in Berea.
The presentation will include a brief historical summary of the chemical weapons issue at the Blue Grass Army Depot and an in-depth status report on chemical weapons neutralization in Kentucky.
He also will give an update on chemical weapons in nations participating in the OPCW and report on his visit to the Office for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
Earlier on Tuesday, Williams will give a report to the Chemical Destruction Citizens Advisory Board (CDCAB) which meets at 1:30 p.m. in the Eastern Kentucky University Perkins Building on S. Kit Carson Drive.
For more details, call the Chemical Weapons Working Group at 986-0868, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the CWWG office, 128 Main St., Berea.
Ronica Shannon can be reached at email@example.com or 624-6608.