Russia seeks help in destroying chemical weapon stockpile : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Nando Times

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (April 11, 2001 9:14 a.m. EDT) - Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov affirmed Russia's commitment to destroying its massive stockpile of banned chemical weapons Wednesday, but said it will need the help of other nations to cover the enormous cost.

"I have to tell you frankly that the acuteness of the problem of funding Russia's chemical weapons destruction is still present," Ivanov said in The Hague, Netherlands.

vanov described his talks Wednesday with Jose Bustani, director of the watchdog Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, as "substantive," but declined to disclose details.

The organization's officials said Ivanov's visit showed that Russia was determined to reduce stores of deadly chemicals, but they expressed disappointment that no concrete details were given about how and when it will achieve reduction targets.

Russia increased its 2001 budget for the project to $40 million - mostly to build a destruction plant in the town of Gorny, in the Volga River region of Saratov, the OPCW said. Another $1 billion was needed to build another facility in Schuchye in the Kurgan region.

The Gorny plant, which has drawn some financial support from Europe, is being built to destroy blister agents, older weapons which are at the greatest risk of leakage because of poor storage facilities. The United States is more interested in Schuchye, where more advanced nerve gas weapons are kept.

Russia has about 40,000 tons of chemical weapons, compared with 30,000 for the United States. The volume of chemicals for weapons in those two countries alone surpasses that of the rest of the world, OPCW spokesman Peter Kaiser said.

-- Rachel Gibson (, April 11, 2001

Moderation questions? read the FAQ