White House says US has destroyed its chemical weapons stockpile

The US on Friday announced it had completed the more than three-decade process of destroying its chemical weapons stockpiles.

“Today—as we mark this significant milestone—we must also renew our commitment to forging a future free from chemical weapons,” Joe Biden said in a statement.

“I continue to encourage the remaining nations to join the Chemical Weapons Convention so that the global ban on chemical weapons can reach its fullest potential,” he added. “Russia and Syria should return to compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention and admit their undeclared programs, which have been used to commit brazen atrocities and attacks.”

A worker at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent Pilot Plant looks at a blast door inside the facility in Richmond, Kentucky

(Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The US and Soviet Union agreed in 1989 in principle to destroy their stores of the deadly weapons, condemned following their widespread use in wartime atrocities in conflicts like World War I.

Later, in 1997, the US Senate ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The US chemical weapons stock included cluster bombs and land mines with verve agent, mustard gas artillery shells, and poison that could be sprayed via jet, according to the New York Times.

The effort to destroy the weapons was decades behind schedule and cost an estimated $42bn, according to the paper.

“Chemical weapons are responsible for some of the most horrific episodes of human loss,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said in a statement, the AP reports. “Though the use of these deadly agents will always be a stain on history, today our nation has finally fulfilled our promise to rid our arsenal of this evil.

The news of the destruction of the stockpile comes as the US offloaded some of its other controversial weapons to Ukraine.

The US will be sending cluster munitions to the country as part of a $800m aid package to help its beleagured armed forces fend off the Russia invastion.

More than 120 countries, including numerous US allies in Europe, have joined a convention banning the use of such rounds, because they can cause a high number of civilian casualties.

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