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OPCW chief announces destruction of over 96% of chemical weapons in the world

According to OPCW Director General Ahmet Uzumcu, "another milestone in the implementation of the Convention was the completion of the chemical demilitarization process by the Russian Federation"

THE HAGUE, November 27. /TASS/. More than 96% of chemical weapons have been destroyed in the world, Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Director General Ahmet Uzumcu said, addressing the 22nd Session of the Conference of the State Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention.

"With regard to the overall progress in destruction, to date the Secretarial has verified the elimination of 67,851 metric tonnes of category one chemical weapons, which equals to over 96% of the total 70,494 metric tonnes declared by the possessor states parties," he said.

According to him, "another milestone in the implementation of the Convention was the completion of the chemical demilitarization process by the Russian Federation." "On September 27, 2017, the Russian Federation announced the complete destruction of its entire stockpile of category one chemical weapons, which amounted to 39,967 metric tonnes," Uzumcu noted. "As of October 31, 2017, the Secretariat has verified the destruction by the United States of 91% of its category one chemical weapons, the construction of the Blue Grass destruction plant is almost finished and the facility will commence work in 2020," he noted.

When speaking about Syria, the OPCW director general said that "in 2017, the OPCW fact-finding mission in Syria continued to study all available information related to the allegations of the use of chemical weapons on the territory of the state party. The FFM issued three reports determining the use of chemicals as weapons in Umm Hawsh, Khan Shaykhun and Al-Lataminah."

"It is very disturbing that yet again we are confronted with the use of chemical weapons. I believe that it is vital and in the interests of all states parties to the Convention that the long-held international norm against chemical weapons remains strong and the perpetrators are held accountable," Uzumcu added.

Turning to Libya, Uzumcu said he was "pleased to report that the elimination of its declared stockpiles of category two chemical weapons has been completed."

"Regarding Iraq, we have been reported that the encapsulation of the two chemical weapons bunkers has been completed. The Secretarial will analyze the verification documentation submitted by the Iraqi authorities and report later to the states parties," the OPCW chief said.

"China and Japan continued to work together on the recovery and destruction operation of abandoned chemical weapons at sites across China," Uzumcu noted.