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Russia ahead of chemical weapons deadline

Nov. 27, 2009 at 3:17 PM

MOSCOW, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- The Russian Foreign Ministry said Friday the country is ahead of an international deadline to destroy its chemical weapons stockpile.

The ministry said in a statement Russia has already destroyed 45 percent of its chemical weapons as called for under the Chemical Weapons Convention, and remains dedicated to destroying its remaining stockpiles by 2012, RIA Novosti reported.

"As of Nov. 26, the Russian Federation has completed the destruction of 17,998.205 (metric) tons, or 45.03 percent, of its chemical weapon stockpiles," the ministry said.

The Chemical Weapons Convention, which was signed by Russia in 1993, focuses on stopping the development, stockpiling and use of chemical weaponry.

To reach the deadlines mandated by the agreement, which Russia ratified in 1997, Russia allocated $7.18 billion from its federal budget. It used the money to build five chemical weapons destruction plants and is building two more facilities.

RIA Novosti said Russia is also receiving financial and technological aid from the international community for its chemical weapons destruction efforts under an agreement reached during the 2002 Kananaskis Group of 8 summit.

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