Russia makes significant progress in chemical weapons destruction - German ambassador

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NIZHNY NOVGOROD, September 20 (RIA Novosti) - The German ambassador to Russia said Tuesday that the country had made considerable progress in implementing its chemical weapons destruction program.

Walter Jurgen Schmidt met with Sergei Kiriyenko, the Russian presidential envoy to the Volga Federal District and chairman of the state chemical disarmament commission, in Moscow Tuesday.

Schmidt praised the performance of the plant based in Gorny, a village near the Saratov region (Volga area). He also said Russia's second facility to destroy chemical weapons would be commissioned in Kambark in the republic of Udmurtia, northeastern European Russia, late this year. Germany has contributed to the project in Kambark.

Schmidt said German experts were considering participating in the construction of a plant near the village of Leonidovka in the Penza region in Central Russia.

Under the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, and Stockpiling of Chemical and Bacteriological Weapons, Russia is to destroy 20% of the chemical weapons it inherited from the former Soviet Union by 2007. The stockpiles must be completely destroyed by 2012.

Russia ratified the convention, which stipulates four phases of destruction, in 1997. One percent of the weapons are to be destroyed in the first phase, 20% in the second phase, 45% in the third, and the remaining 34% in the fourth phase.

Russia's has a total of 40,000 metric tons of chemical weapons.

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