Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (BGCAPP) leaders and program partners welcomed the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, or OPCW, Executive Council to Kentucky April 3-4.
“It’s impressive that as many entities as are working together on this effort can share a common vision for the elimination of an entire class of weapons of mass destruction,” said Craig Williams, co-chair, Chemical Destruction Community Advisory Board. “I was very pleased to see representatives from so many organizations here today.”
“I was here four years ago,” said Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, Director-General, OPCW. “I am pleased to see the progress. It helps build and sustain the confidence of the council. I wish you every success.”
Personnel from the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Department of Defense and Department of State, as well as area partners such as the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection, Madison County Emergency Management Agency/Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program and local elected officials, all attended a meet-and-greet event and mingled with the OPCW members. The council members then toured the site, where they viewed the work completed since their last visit in 2013.
In December 2011, the OPCW Conference of the State Parties issued a decision paper outlining specific procedures for possessor states not completing destruction by April 2012. These procedures are in effect until the possessor state no longer possesses chemical weapons. The U.S., as one of the possessor states, is to invite the Chairperson of the executive council, the Director-General, and a delegation representing the executive council and other invited countries to visit and get an overview of the destruction programs being undertaken.
These visits are to include tours of the destruction facilities as well as meetings with parliamentarians, if possible, and government officials in capitals as a formal part of the visits.
During the visit, U.S. officials reassured the OPCW that they are unwavering in the commitment to achieve 100 percent destruction of U.S. chemical weapons as soon as practicable, consistent with the Chemical Weapons Convention imperatives of public safety, environmental protection, and international transparency and oversight.