The OPCW Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, accompanied a delegation of Executive Council members on a visit to the United States of America from 19 to 24 May 2013, where they toured the sites of two chemical weapons destruction facilities (CWDFs) that are under construction and consulted with U.S. Government officials. Council delegates make annual visits to Russia and the USA to monitor progress in both countries toward eliminating their chemical arsenals, in accordance with a decision by the Conference of the States Parties.
The delegation comprised the Council chair, Ambassador Olexander Horin (Ukraine), and representatives of each of the OPCW Regional Groups: Ambassador Nimota Nihinlola Akanbi (Nigeria/Africa); Mr Chunsen Gong (China/Asia); Ambassador Eberhard Schanze (Germany/Western European and Other States); and Ambassador Miguel Calahorrano Camina (Ecuador/Latin America and the Caribbean). The delegation also included State Party representatives of Libya, Japan, the Russian Federation and South Africa.
In Washington, the delegates met with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky; with Mr. Frank A. Rose, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Space and Defense Policy, Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance; and with Ms. Lynn Rusten, Senior Director for Arms Control and Nonproliferation, National Security Staff.
The delegation visited Blue Grass, Kentucky and Pueblo, Colorado to review the status of chemical weapons destruction facilities (CWDFs) that are being built in those locations. The delegates undertook site visits to see the progress of construction of the facilities and received detailed briefings on plans to complete destruction of the U.S. chemical arsenal from officials of the depots in Blue Grass and Pueblo and of the Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives (ACWA) programme, the federal authority which oversees the two CWDFs. The delegation also met with representatives of community-based citizens’ groups to hear their views and concerns on the destruction initiatives.
A formal report of the delegation visit will be prepared and submitted to the Executive Council for consideration during its 73rd session in mid-July.
While in Washington, Director-General Üzümcü was the featured guest in a discussion forum on the Chemical Weapons Convention that was held at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies.