For more info:
Emma Mackinnon/Sam Boykin, Fenton Communications, 212-584-5000
Cristian Ion, Global Green USA, 202-222-0700
Iraqi insurgents used chlorine gas combined with high explosives over the last weeks to kill and injure hundreds of Iraqis and U.S. and Iraqi troops. Most recently U.S. troops in Baghdad discovered containers of both nitric acid and chlorine gas alongside caches of weapons, indicating an expanding war using crude chemical weapons.
The ominous use of chemical weapons, including continued Al Qaeda threats to use weapons of mass destruction in future terrorist acts, comes at a time when the US is zeroing out its annual threat reduction funding for Russian chemical weapons destruction, and is stretching out its own schedule for demilitarization of US chemical weapons stockpiles by a decade or more. Russia, with the help of a dozen other countries, must destroy 35,000 tons of deadly chemical agents by 2012; the US likewise must eliminate over 18,000 tons of remaining chemical agents by 2012, the final CWC deadline.
What: Ambassador Rogelio Pfirter, the Director-General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague, will address the recent use of chemical weapons in Iraq, international efforts to control and ban chemical weapons and the upcoming 10th anniversary of the historic international Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).
Also speaking will be Dr. Paul F. Walker, Legacy Program Director, Global Green USA, the US affiliate of Mikhail Gorbachev’s Green Cross International, who will discuss threat reduction efforts in the US and Russia to secure and eliminate over 70,000 tons of chemical weapons.
Who: Ambassador Rogelio Pfirter, the Director-General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague.
Dr. Paul F. Walker, Legacy Program Director, Global Green USA, the U.S. affiliate of Mikhail Gorbachev’s Green Cross International
When: Friday, March 30, 9-10:30AM; light breakfast will be served
Where: National Press Club, Murrow Room
529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor - Washington, DC 20045
More: Ambassador Pfirter is a career Argentinean diplomat and has led the OPCW since 2002; he has worked in the field of nonproliferation for over 15 years. Dr. Walker has managed the Green Cross/Global Green Legacy Program, focused on facilitating safe WMD dismantlement and threat reduction, for over a decade and is a former senior staffer with the House Armed Services Committee.