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Iraq ratifies treaty banning chemical weapons

Iraq deposited its ratification of the treaty banning chemical weapons on Tuesday, a move welcomed by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as a demonstration of the country's commitment to disarmament and nonproliferation.
Iraq will be bound by the convention in 30 days, becoming the 186th nation to be a party to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction.
After the first Gulf War in 1991, U.N. weapons inspectors spent years uncovering and destroying Iraq's extensive chemical weapons program including nearly 40,000 filled and empty chemical munitions, 690 tons of chemical weapons agents, more than 3,000 tons of precursor chemicals to make weapons, and hundreds of pieces of equipment to produce them.
In the 3 1/2 months before the 2003 Iraq war, when U.N. inspectors were allowed back into Iraq after a nearly four-year ban, they found no evidence that Saddam Hussein had maintained chemical weapons stockpiles or had resumed production.
Iraq's U.N. Ambassador Hamid al-Bayati, who handed over the ratification document signed by the Iraqi Presidential Council, said it reflected the government's willingness to cooperate with the international community in the field of disarmament and its determination to participate in maintaining international peace and security.
Under a June 2007 Security Council resolution that disbanded the U.N. weapons inspection operation for Iraq, the Iraqi government was required to become a party to the chemical weapons convention.
Iraq's U.N. Mission said Tuesday's event was a step towards implementing the council's requirement that it adhere to all disarmament and nonproliferation conventions.
Ban congratulated Iraq and urged holdout nations to sign on as soon as possible to give the chemical weapons convention universality, U.N. spokeswoman Michele Montas said.
Angola, Egypt, North Korea, Somalia and Syria have not signed the 1997 treaty. The Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Israel and Myanmar have signed the convention but not ratified it.
The treaty established the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, based in The Hague, Netherlands, to verify the destruction of stockpiles and production facilities.
Six countries have acknowledged having weapons capabilities and pledged to dismantle them. More than 42 percent of the world's declared stockpile of 71,315 metric tons (78,000 U.S. tons) of chemical agent have been destroyed so far, the organization said late last year.
It takes only a pinhead-size amount of nerve agent to kill an adult within minutes.
The United States and Russia, each with thousands of tons of weapons, received five-year extensions for their disarmament programs and are expected to have completed destruction by 2012.

Updated : 2021-05-07 08:04 GMT+08:00