THE HAGUE, Netherlands —15 April 2019 — 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 and the OPCW Director-General, H.E. Mr Fernando Arias, visited the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP) in Colorado, U.S.A.
The delegation included the Chairperson of the Executive Council, H.E. Ambassador Jana Reinišová, of the Czech Republic, the OPCW Director-General, representatives of OPCW regional groups, and observers.
The Chairperson of the Executive Council expressed, “The work undertaken at the Pueblo facility represents a key part of the US government’s ongoing efforts to meet its commitments set out by the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) to eradicate its chemical weapons stockpile. The OPCW delegation was pleased to observe the destruction process underway and hopes to see the task completed as planned.”
The delegation reviewed the status of the destruction of blister agent mustard stored in projectiles and mortars at the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot. The delegates toured the site and received detailed briefings. The briefings from officials representing the U.S. Department of Defense and the Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives (ACWA) programme, covered plans to complete destruction of the U.S. chemical stockpile. The delegation also met with the Colorado Citizens Advisory Commission, a community-based citizens group, to hear their views.
A formal report of the delegation’s visit will be prepared and is anticipated for submission to the OPCW Executive Council for consideration during its 91st session in mid-July.
The Executive Council delegation was satisfied with the commitment of the United States to meet its obligations under the CWC, and to complete the destruction of its remaining chemical weapons stockpile in a safe and environmentally sound manner within the planned timelines.
On 11 April, the Executive Council visit concluded in Washington, D.C. with a roundtable discussion hosted by the U.S. Department of State, which included officials from the Departments of Commerce, Defense and State, as well as the White House.
The Director-General also held bilateral meetings with senior U.S. officials, including Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, Mr Alan Shaffer; Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, Ms Yleem Poblete; and Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for WMD and Biodefense, Mr Tim Morrison.
The Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant is the facility where the destruction of the chemical weapons stockpile stored at the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot, Colorado is being conducted. The facility uses neutralisation followed by bio-treatment as well as the explosive destruction method to eliminate the stockpile.
As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW, with its 193 Member States, oversees the global endeavour to permanently eliminate chemical weapons. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1997, it is the most successful disarmament treaty eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction.
Over 96% 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 Peace Prize.