U.S. Senate Resolution on the CWC – April 22, 2008

On April 22 Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE) introduced Sen. Res. 525 – Recognizing the Progress Made by States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention on the Occasion of the Second Review Conference. The resolution was co-sponsored by Senator Lugar (R-IN) and referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Sen. Biden introduced the bill saying:

“Mr. President, 11 years ago this month, the Senate gave its advice and consent to U.S. ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention, or CWC. Those of us who were here then remember all too well how contentious and difficult a task that was.

Eleven years later, I have no doubt in my mind that the Senate did the right thing. The CWC clearly serves the national security interests of the U.S. It continues to enhance international peace and security.

Since the CWC entered into force, 183 States have signed on to the treaty’s commitment to forgo poison gas forever, and have subjected themselves to the treaty’s verification procedures. States Parties to the CWC have destroyed over 27,000 tons of chemical weapons—over a third of the world’s declared stockpiles—and 11 destruction facilities around the world are working to destroy even more. Sixty-five chemical weapons production facilities that, without a Chemical Weapons Convention, could have churned out still more poison gas are no longer carrying out that horrible work, and all but 4 of those former weapons production facilities have been verifiably destroyed or converted to peaceful purposes. Most importantly, there has been no use of chemical weapons by any country in the last 11 years, and no international support for the use of such weapons by terrorist groups.

Under the able leadership of its Director- General, Ambassador Rogelio Pfirter, the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons runs a tight ship. It works with all States Parties to improve national declarations, to mount effective inspections, and to secure the adoption of effective national laws, regulations and procedures that criminalize and guard against the production or stockpiling of chemical weapons.

The States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention are gathering over the next 2 weeks in The Netherlands for the Convention’s Second Review Conference. Senator Lugar and I have introduced this resolution during the Review Conference in order to reaffirm the Senate’s commitment to the goals of the CWC. We are proud of the progress that has been made so far, and we call upon all States Parties to continue to meet their commitments under the CWC and to do all they can to further the noble aims of the Convention.

I urge all my colleagues to support this resolution.”