THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 11 April 2017 — At the invitation of the government of the United States of America, a delegation from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Executive Council visited the Blue Grass Chemical Weapons Destruction Facility (CWDF) in Kentucky, from 2-6 April 2017.
The delegation comprised the Chairperson of the Executive Council, Ambassador Odette Melono, of Cameroon, the OPCW Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, together with a representative from each of the Executive Council’s regional groups. They were accompanied by representatives from Japan, Kenya, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, the Swiss Confederation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the European External Action Service.
In Blue Grass, Kentucky, the participants reviewed the status of the Blue Grass Chemical Agent – Destruction Pilot Plant, and the Static Detonation Chamber that are being built in this location.
The delegates undertook site visits to see the progress of construction and systemisation of the facilities. They also received detailed briefings on plans to complete destruction of the U.S. chemical arsenal from officials of the depots of the Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives (ACWA) programme, the federal authority which oversees the Chemical Weapons Destruction Facility.
The delegation further met with representatives of community-based citizens’ groups to hear their views.
After the visit to the CWDF, the delegation met in Washington, D.C. with representatives from the State Department, the Department of Defense, the Department of Commerce and the White House.
A formal report of the delegation’s visit will be prepared and submitted to the OPCW Executive Council for consideration during its 85th session in mid-July.
The Executive Council delegation was satisfied with the commitment of the United States to meet its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention, and to complete the destruction of its remaining chemical weapons stockpile in a safe and environmentally sound manner within the planned timelines.
As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW oversees the global endeavour to permanently and verifiably eliminate chemical weapons. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1997 – and with its 192 States Parties – it is the most successful disarmament treaty eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction.
To date, nearly 95 per cent of all chemical weapon stockpiles declared by possessor States have been destroyed under OPCW verification. For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Prize for Peace.