At the invitation of the government of the Russian Federation, a delegation from the OPCW Executive Council visited on 7 and 8 September 2010 the Pochep Chemical Weapons Destruction Facility, located at Pochep, Bryanskaya Oblast. The delegation comprised the Chairperson of the Council, Ambassador Jean-François Blarel, together with a representative from each of the other regional groups, a representative from the United States of America, and the OPCW Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Uzümcü.
The visit took place in pursuance of a decision taken by the Conference of the States Parties at its 11th session in December 2006 on visits by the representatives of the Executive Council to chemical weapons destruction facilities (CWDF) and CWDF construction sites. The purpose of the visits is to “consider progress and efforts towards achieving complete destruction in accordance with the provisions of the Convention, and any measures being taken to overcome possible problems in a destruction programmes in accordance with Part IV (A), paragraph 26 of the Verification Annex”.
Three similar visits were previously conducted by the Council, two in the United States of America at the CWDFs located at Anniston, Alabama, in October 2007, and Pueblo, Colorado, and Umatilla, Oregon, in May-June 2009, as well as one visit in the Russian Federation at Shchuchye, in the Kurgansk region, in September 2008.
During the visit to Pochep, Mr V Kholstov, Director of the Department for Fulfilment of Convention-related Obligations, Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, and other representatives of the Russian Federation briefed the OPCW delegation on the overall implementation of the chemical weapons destruction programme in the Russian Federation, the state of affairs at each destruction facility, with a focus on the CWDF located at Pochep, which is currently in final stages of construction. The representatives of the Russian Federation outlined the efforts and measures undertaken to meet the country’s obligations under the Convention as well as the technical and financial challenges involved in the process of eliminating this category of weapons of mass destruction. The visit also included a tour of the facility, soon to be commissioned, as well as ample opportunity for discussions, which were conducted in an open and transparent manner.
The chemical weapons destruction facility located at Pochep will destroy 7,498 MT of nerve agents in air-delivered chemical munitions (representing 18.8% of the CW stockpile declared by the Russian Federation) and it is expected to start the operations in the fourth quarter of 2010.
As part of the visit, the OPCW delegation met also in Moscow with the Chairman of the State Commission on Chemical Disarmament, Mr G.A. Rapota and with the Deputy-Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Defence, Mr I.E. Puzanov.
OPCW NEWS 26/2010 THE HAGUE, 9 SEPTEMBER 2010