Copyright 2006 Federal Information and News Dispatch, Inc.
State Department Documents and Publications
July 7, 2006
SECTION: NEWS FROM
THE WASHINGTON FILE
LENGTH: 577 words
HEADLINE: U.S. Requests Chemical
Weapons Destruction Deadline Extension; Request would give the
U.S. five more years to destroy chemical stockpile
Washington -- The
United States has requested an extension to the deadline for completing the
destruction of its chemical weapons stockpile, a U.S.
Ambassador Eric Javits, head of the
U.S. delegation to the Executive Council of the Organization for the Prohibition
of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), told the council July 4 at The
Hague, Netherlands, that although the United States had announced the decision
to request an extension, it delayed submitting a draft request to provide ample
information about the move and to listen to the comments, suggestions and
concerns of others.
"We have appreciated your
thoughtful and constructive comments, and recognize the concerns that have been
raised," Javits said.
The threat of chemical weapons use no longer is confined to combat, he said.
"The threat now also comes from terrorists and non-state actors," Javits added,
as they may threaten "us in our homes and cities."
Chemical Weapons Convention, which entered into force April
29, 1997, bans the development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, retention
and direct or indirect transfer of chemical weapons. It also
prohibits the use or preparation for use of chemical weapons
and the assistance, encouragement or inducement of anyone else to engage in
activities prohibited by the convention.
request would extend the deadline for the destruction of the entire U.S. chemical weapons stockpile from April 2007 to April 2012. After
OPCW states have a chance to consider the U.S. text, Javits said he hopes the
council will endorse it at its next session in November.
In April, Javits told the executive council that it took the United
States "longer than anticipated to build facilities and to obtain the necessary
permits and consent to begin destruction of chemical weapons,
and we have found that, once operating, our facilities have not destroyed
weapons as rapidly as we initially projected." (See related article.)
"Let me emphatically reiterate that the United States is
committed to the earliest possible completion of destruction of its chemical weapons stockpiles," Javits said. "We are making every
effort and continuing to seek opportunities to improve our [chemical weapons] destruction with a view to meeting the 2012
deadline or completing destruction as soon after that date as feasible." (See
The U.S. commitment and its efforts
to meet its chemical weapons obligations "should be patently
manifest," Javits said, from government assurances offered "at every level" as
well from a high rate of past expenditures and future destruction cost
Total U.S. expenditure to destroy its
chemical stockpile completely currently is expected to reach $35 billion.
Javits said the United States is "equally committed to
full transparency" about the status of its program, and is "ready to meet with
any delegation to address any questions or concerns about the U.S. extension
In addition to urging states to persuade
additional countries to endorse the chemical weapons
convention, Javits also emphasized the importance of enactment of national laws
by existing members that will enable them to fulfill treaty obligations.
The full text of Javits' remarks as prepared for delivery
is available on the State Department Web site.
additional information about U.S. policy, see Arms Control and
(Distributed by the Bureau of
International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State.)