State Commission reviews progress on chemical disarmament

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NIZHNY NOVGOROD, July 27 (RIA Novosti) - A field session of the Russian State Commission on Chemical Disarmament opens today in Udmurtia, a republic within the Russian Federation, a spokesman for the Privolzhsky (Volga) federal district said.

The session is being held in the Udmurt city of Kambarka, where a chemical weapons disarmament facility is being built.

The session will focus on two major issues, including the 2005 half-year results and the progress on the second stage of the chemical weapons disarmament program, the spokesman said.

The commission will review the progress of the construction of the Kambarka facility, which is scheduled to be completed by year's end. The facility is being built according to a special federal program on the destruction of Russia's chemical weapons stockpile that was approved by the government on July 20.

Sergei Kiriyenko, Presidential Representative to the Volga district, told Rogelio Phirter, General Director of the Technical Secretariat of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), that Russia would complete the second stage of the program by April 29, 2007.

The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), ratified by Russia in 1997, is an international treaty that bans the development, production, possession, and use of chemical weapons and calls for the destruction of existing weapons. According to the CWC, Russia must completely destroy its chemical weapons stockpile, inherited from the U.S.S.R, by 2012, including 20 % to be disarmed by 2007.

Russia's chemical weapons stockpile consists of 40,000 metric tons stored at seven facilities.

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