|President Clinton and President Yeltsin discussed issues relating to the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention at the Helsinki Summit today. They stressed the commitment of both nations to full and effective accomplishment of the tasks and objectives of the Convention, and reaffirmed their intention to take the necessary steps to expedite ratification.
President Yeltsin submitted the Chemical Weapons Convention to the Russian Parliament for ratification March 17. The Russian Foreign Ministry stated, “This move of the president confirms our adherence to the Convention, which we have repeatedly stated, and Russia’s intention to be among its participants.... The Government of Russia will
From the Joint Statement:
The Presidents reaffirmed their intention to take the steps necessary to expedite ratification in each of the two countries. President Clinton expressed his determination that the United States be a party when the Convention enters into force in April of this year, and is strongly urging prompt Senate action. President Yeltsin noted that the Convention had been submitted to the Duma with his strong recommendation for prompt ratification.
work very actively with the parliament to ensure an early ratification of the Convention.”
As the clock ticks on the CWC deadline of April 29, Russia’s action follows other ratification efforts worldwide, including those in China. In January 1997, the Chinese parliament approved the CWC.
To date, 161 countries have signed the CWC, demonstrating the overwhelming international support for the Convention. Of the approximately 20 countries believed to have or to be seeking a chemical weapons program, more than two-thirds already have signed the CWC.
Seventy countries have now ratified the Convention, including almost all of our NATO allies, and key industrial nations with chemical industries of their own such as Japan.
United States leadership remains key in ensuring the viability of this agreement. As the European Union recently stated in a letter to President Clinton, “The EU considers it of great importance that the United States be among the original States Parties to the Convention.... Timely ratification by the United States is crucial for the credibility and effectiveness of the Convention.... It will also be a major incentive for many other states, most notably the Russian Federation, to ratify the Convention.”