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    SWITZERLAND TO ALLOCATE $12 BLN FOR RUSSIAN CHEMICAL WEAPONS ELIMINATION (UPDATE)

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    MOSCOW, January 28th, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent) - The Russian Federation and Switzerland have signed an agreement on co-operation in eliminating chemical weapons in Russia.

    From the Russian side, Director General of the Russian Ammunition Agency Viktor Kholstov signed the agreement. The Swiss side was represented by Swiss Charge D'affaires Ann Boti.

    "The first stage of our co-operation within this agreement will be the formation of sanitary and hygienic control system at Schuchye chemical weapons elimination facility," said Viktor Kholstov.

    The abovementioned facility in the Schuchye settlement (the Kurgan region, Transuralia), is due to open in 2006. According to Kholstov, Switzerland is going to allocate a total of 15 million Swiss franks (or some $12 million) within five years for chemical weapons elimination.

    The Swiss charge d'affaires in turn expressed satisfaction with the signed agreement. "There are many projects of interest for us. The Schuchye project is the most preferable," said Ann Boti.

    According to her, Switzerland might join the Netherlands in an effort to help Russia provide for the chemical weapons elimination facility in Kambarka (the Udmurtian republic).

    At present, a similar facility is operating in the Gorny settlement (Saratov region). According to Kholstov, in 2003 all the mustard gas reserves, i.e. 622.5 tons, were eliminated there. Part of the lewisite reserves, 12 tons, have already been eliminated there.

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