Ban wants more done on chemical weapons

April 29, 2011 at 10:28 AM
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UNITED NATIONS, April 29 (UPI) -- More than 65 percent of the chemical warfare agents declared by the international community have been destroyed, the U.N. secretary-general said.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon commemorated the 14th anniversary of the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention by calling on world leaders to embrace the momentum in eliminating chemical weapons from their arsenals.

Ban said there were several countries that have eliminated stockpiles of weapons while others were working to toward similar goals. More than 65 percent of declared chemical warfare agents in the world have been destroyed, he said.

"An impressive 90 percent of chemical weapons production capability has been inactivated or permanently converted for peaceful purposes," Ban added in a statement.

Iraqi lawmakers last month marked the 23rd anniversary of the poison gas massacres in Halabja.

Ali Hassan al-Majid, an Iraqi defense minister under the former Baathist regime, was executed in January 2010 for ordering chemical weapons attacks on the Kurdish population in 1988. An estimated 5,000 people were killed during the assault, earning Majid the nickname Chemical Ali.

More recently, the group Physicians for Human Rights said it had forensic evidence that Bahraini security forces attacked medical staff and patients with birdshot, rubber bullets and "unidentified chemical agents."

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