US President Joe Biden said that the United States has destroyed the last stocks of its chemical weapons, a corresponding statement was published on the White House website. According to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), these were the last known stockpiles of a state party to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in the world.
Biden clarified that the US had been working to eliminate stockpiles for more than 30 years. According to him, on July 7, the last stocks of chemical weapons were destroyed in the country, which is a condition of the Chemical Weapons Convention. He also called on other countries that might not have destroyed some of their undeclared chemical weapons stockpiles to return to compliance with the convention:
“Russia and Syria must return to compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention and recognize their undeclared programs that have been used to commit daring atrocities and attacks. We will continue to work with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to prevent the accumulation, production and use of chemical weapons around the world. And together with our partners, we will not stop until we can finally and forever rid the world of this evil.”
The OPCW called the US action a critical step towards fulfilling the mission to finally eliminate all chemical weapons. Organization Director General Fernando Arias congratulated the United States and the CWC participants, stressing that this is a historic success of the multilateral disarmament approach, showing the work of a whole generation of diplomats and experts over the past 26 years. However, he recalled that there are states whose stocks of chemical weapons are unknown.
“Nevertheless, new challenges await us ahead that require the constant attention of the international community. Four countries have not yet acceded to the Convention. Abandoned and old chemical weapons still need to be destroyed.”
He stated that there have been recent incidents of the use or threat of use of toxic chemicals as weapons. The general director of the organization did not give specific examples.
The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) came into force in 1997, and stockpile destruction worldwide is regulated by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Currently, 193 states are parties to the convention (including Russia and the United States since 1997). Israel signed it but did not ratify it; Egypt, North Korea and South Sudan have not signed the CWC. At the same time, Russia, Russia and Syria, which are also members of the OPCW, have repeatedly denied the use of chemical weapons. The Russian Federation reported on the final destruction of all Russian stockpiles of chemical weapons in September 2017. However, in 2020, the OPCW confirmed that Alexei Navalny had been poisoned with the Novichok substance developed by the Russian intelligence services, in response to these allegations, Russia threatened to withdraw from the OPCW.