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Chemical Weapons Convention

From Academic Kids

The Chemical Weapons Convention is an arms control agreement which outlaws the production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons. Its full name is the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction. It was signed in 1993 and entered into force on April 29, 1997. It augments the Geneva Protocol of 1925 for chemical weapons and includes extensive verification measures such as on-site inspections, but does not cover biological weapons. The convention is administered by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, OPCW. The OPCW conducts inspection of military and industrial plants in all of the member nations as well as working with stockpile countries.

As of 2004, there were 167 member countries of which six had declared stockpiles: the United States, Russia, India, Albania, Libya, and "a state party", possibly South Korea. Iraq's chemical weapons were destroyed under a UN program. Twelve countries declared chemical weapons production facilities (Bosnia and Herzegovina, the People's Republic of China, France, India, Iran, Japan, Libya, Russia, Serbia and Montenegro, United Kingdom, United States and another State Party). By the end of 2004, 47 of 64 declared facilities had been destroyed or converted to civilian uses.

The total world declared stockpile of chemical weapons was about 61,325 tons in 2004. A total of 71,373 tons have been declared to OPCW of which about 10,048 tons had been destroyed. Several countries that are not members are suspected of having chemical weapons, especially Syria and North Korea while some member states (including Sudan and China) have been accused by others of failing to disclose their stockpiles.

The treaty set up several steps with deadlines toward complete destruction of chemical weapons.

Phase I: 1% destruction, April 2000
Phase II: 20% destruction, April 2002, also complete destruction of empty munitions, precursor chemicals, filling equipment and weapons systems
Phase III: 45% destruction, April 2004
Phase IV: 100% destruction, April 2007, with no extensions past April 2012

By 2004, only 14% of chemical weapons had been destroyed worldwide. This is far short of the 45% goal. Only 40% of countries had passed the required legislation outlawing participation in chemical weapons production. All 64 weapons production facilities were inactivated or destroyed. Albania, India, and "a state party", which together accounted for three percent of world stockpiles, had destroyed 0%, 39% and 29% of their weapons and were considered on track to meet the April 2007 deadline for total destruction. The United States had completed Phase II and received an extension until December 2007 for Phase III. Over 80% of the chemical weapons destroyed since the treaty came into force were destroyed in the U.S. Russia had completed Phase I and received extensions on the other Phases. Libya had just joined the convention months before and was just beginning its activities.

The U.S. provided support for the Albanian and Libyan programs while Russia received support from the U.S., UK, Germany, Netherlands, Italy and Canada. By 2004 almost $US 2 billion had been given by these countries to the Russian program. However, the U.S. General Accounting Office expected the Russians would not finish destruction until 2027 and the United States, itself, would not finish until 2014, both after the treaty's final deadline.

Controlled Substances

The Convention distinguishes three classes of controlled substance:

Schedule 1 controlled toxins:

  • O-Alkyl (<= C10 incl. cycloalkyl) alkyl (Me, Et, n-Pr oder i-Pr)-phosphonofluoridates
    • O-Isopropyl methylphosphonofluoridate (Sarin),
    • O-Pinacolyl methylphosphonofluoridate (Soman)
  • O-Alkyl (<= C10 incl. cycloalkyl)-N,N-dialkyl (Me, Et, n-Pr oder i-Pr)-phosphoramidocyanidates
    • O-Ethyl N,N-dimethyl phosphoramido cyanidate (Tabun)
  • O-Alkyl (H oder <= C10 incl. cycloalkyl)-S-2-dialkyl (Me, Et, n-Pr oder i-Pr)-aminoethyl alkyl (Me, Et, n-Pr oder i-Pr)-phosphonothiolates and corresponding alkylated or pronated salts
    • O-Ethyl-S-2-diisopropyl-aminoethyl methyl phosphonothiolate (VX)
  • Sulfur mustards:
    • 2-Chloroethylchloromethylsulfide
    • Bis(2-cloroethyl)-sulfide (mustard gas)
    • Bis(2-cloroethylthio)-methane
    • Sesquimustard: 1,2-Bis(2-chloroethylthio)ethane
    • 1,3-Bis(2-chloroethylthio)-n-propane
    • 1,4-Bis(2-chloroethylthio)-n-butane
    • 1,5-Bis(2-chloroethylthio)-n-pentane
    • Bis(2-chloroethylthiomethyl)ether
    • Bis(2-chloroethylthioethyl)ether (O-Mustard)
  • Lewisites:
    • 2-Chlorovinyldichloroarsine (Lewisite 1)
    • Bis(2-chlorovinyl)-chloroarsine (Lewisite 2)
    • Tris(2-chlorovinyl)-arsine (Lewisite 3)
  • Nitrogen mustards:
    • Bis(2-chlorothyl)-ethylamine (HN1)
    • Bis(2-chloroethyl)-methylamine (HN2)
    • Tris(2-chloroethyl)-amine (HN3)
  • Saxitoxin
  • Ricin
  • Alkyl (Me, Et, n-Pr oder i-Pr)-phosphonyl-difluorides
    • Methylphosphonyl difluoride (DF)
  • O-Alkyl(H oder <= C10 incl. cycloalkyl)-O-2-dialkyl(Me, Et, n-Pr oder i-Pr)-aminoethyl alkyl (Me, Et, n-Pr oder i-Pr) phosphonites and corresponding alkylated and pronated salts
    • O-Ethyl-0-2-diisopropylaminoethylmethyl-phosphonite (QL)
  • O-Isopropyl methyl phosphonochloridate (Chlorosarin)
  • O-Pinacolyl methylphosphonochloridate (Chlorosoman)

Note: Sulfur mustards are used as mutagenic agents in cancer research and nitrogen mustard (as Bis (2-chloroethyl)methylamine hydrochloride) is used as a antineoplastic agent. These and other uses are still permited.

See also

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