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Getting to Zero: Lessons Learned from Chemical Weapon Regime

Posted by Jill Marie Parillo on June 27, 2009


A leading chemical weapon nonproliferation expert told a Washington crowd how lessons learned on the road to zero by the Chemical Weapon Convention regime could be applied to the nuclear nonproliferation regime.


The Washington based Wilson Center hosted Ambassador Rogelio Pfirter (pictured here) June 16, Director-General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Ambassador Pfirter began by highlighting steps the Obama Administration could take in the near future towards a nuclear weapon free world, including: U.S.-Russian negotiations on a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty I (START), ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), and negotiations of a Fissile Material Cut off Treaty (FMCT).


The core of Pfirter’s talk outlined lessons learned from the Chemical Weapons Convention that could be applied to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) regime. Key points on the CWC:


  • No distinction between possessors and non- possessors states, all have same obligations.
  • Treaty comprehensive by banning production, stockpiling and use.
  • Requires collaboration with industry, key to any nonproliferation strategy.
  • Promotes ethos of mutual assistance.
  • Stronger nonproliferation policy is good for all states.

Pfirter also spoke of huge successes towards global CW elimination, and how this could be replicated for biological and nuclear weapons. As one step down the CWC success path, the nuclear nonproliferation regime could implement the CTBT. In the meantime, Pfirter said that it is crucial both politically and financially to support organizations like the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization to ensure that they remain strong and well-managed. 


Check out the video webcast. 


Sohini Sircar, PSR Research Assistant, co-authored this post.


  File:HQ of OPCW in The Hague.jpg

Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)



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