The Final Chapter: US Destroys Last Chemical Weapons Stockpile
On Friday, President Joe Biden proclaimed that the United States has entirely obliterated its longstanding stockpiles of chemical weapons. This crucial accomplishment is celebrated as a milestone marking the global eradication of all acknowledged reservoirs of these deadly agents.
Recently, a US Army facility located in Kentucky successfully concluded its four-year mission of neutralizing approximately 500 tons of dangerous chemical agents, marking the destruction of the last batch held by the military.
In a monumental declaration, President Joe Biden announced that the United States has finally destroyed its remaining chemical weapons stockpile, adhering to its commitment under the Chemical Weapons Convention. This milestone not only represents the end of the country’s lethal legacy but also marks a significant advancement towards global disarmament.
“Today, I am proud to announce that the United States has safely destroyed the final munition in that stockpile – bringing us one step closer to a world free from the horrors of chemical weapons,” President Joe Biden declared, marking the complete destruction of the US’s decades-old stockpiles of chemical weapons.
US Completes Its Commitment
“The United States was the last of the signatories of the Chemical Weapons Convention to complete the task of destroying their ‘declared’ stockpiles,” indicating an end to the known reserves of these lethal agents.
Celebrating Disarmament Success
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons celebrated the event as a “historic success” of disarmament, shedding light on the gruesome legacy of chemical gases that caused mass deaths and maiming during World War I.
According to the OPCW, “all the world’s declared chemical weapons stockpiles were ‘verified as irreversibly destroyed.'”
OPCW Director-General Fernando Arias remarked, “I congratulate all States Parties, and the United States of America in this instance, on this major achievement for the international community.”
“It’s the first time an entire category of declared weapons of mass destruction has been verified as destroyed,” noted Biden, bringing a sense of accomplishment in the field of disarmament.
The Blue Grass Army Depot’s Role
The US army facility in Kentucky, known as the Blue Grass Army Depot, was at the heart of this endeavor, “eliminating some 500 tonnes of lethal chemical agents, the last batch held by the US military,” including mustard gas, sarin, and VX.
The Legacy of Chemical Weapons
The US had stored these chemical weapons for several decades in the form of “artillery projectiles and rockets that contained mustard gases, VX and sarin nerve agents, and blister agents.”
The Challenge of the Chemical Weapons Convention
The Chemical Weapons Convention, which came into effect in 1997, necessitated the destruction of all chemical weapons by September 30 of the year it was signed. This task was “doubly dangerous” due to the need to neutralize both the chemical agents and the munitions they were contained in.
Call for Continued Vigilance
Calling for continued vigilance, Biden urged, “Russia and Syria should return to compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention and admit their undeclared programs, which have been used to commit brazen atrocities and attacks.” He also encouraged the four countries that haven’t ratified the treaty — Egypt, Israel, North Korea, and South Sudan — to do so.
Photo Caption: In this image released by the U.S. Army, an operator guides a forklift driver to unload VX nerve agent M55 rockets on April 15, 2022, at the Blue Grass Army Depot near Richmond, Ky. The United States has destroyed the last of its declared chemical weapons stockpile, a milestone in the history of warfare dating back to World War I
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