Cablegate: Chemical Weapons Convention (Cwc): Paris Seminar


DE RUEHTC #0419/01 1371416
O 161416Z MAY 08




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A. STATE 017328
B. STATE 29828

This is CWC-19-08.


1. (U) The French Ministry of Defense through its
Delegation for Strategic Affairs and its Foundation
for Strategic Research sponsored a seminar limited to
Australia Group members plus China and Russia March
25 and 26 at the Ecole Militaire in Paris. The
seminar was held to provide background information
for the upcoming Chemical Weapons Convention Second
Review Conference (CWC Second RevCon) in relation to
the current threat presented by chemical stockpiles,
how the CWC regime can take into account scientific
and technological developments, and the emergence of
non-state actors in the context of globalization.
About 100 persons attended, representing 26 countries
and 3 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). The
conference was opened with a speech by Rogelio
Pfirter, the Director-General of the OPCW, and closed
with comments by Ambassador Lyn Parker of the UK,
Chairman of the OEWG for the CWC Second RevCon.

2. (U) In sum, the presentations and the discussions
concluded that the existing chemical weapons (CW)
stockpiles do not present a CW warfare threat, and
advances in science and technology likely do not
presage initiatives by States to develop new chemical
weapons. The likelihood of non-state actors being
involved in CW developments based on advances in
science and technology was considered remote,
although it was still considered important for the
OPCW to stay abreast of developments. However, the
interest by non-state actors in the use of industrial
chemicals and chemical products for terrorist actions
was considered real. CEFIC, the European chemical
industry interest group, has initiated activities to
identify chemicals and chemical products with threat
potential. It was noted that the chemical industry
is moving into developing countries. The last decade
has seen about a 10% production shift from
traditional producing countries primarily to West and
East Asia. Changes to the CWC in light of
developments were considered unnecessary, and the
view was expressed that the CWC in its current form
provided the tools to deal with challenges, including

3. (U) The U.S. delegation, led by Ambassador Eric M.
Javits, included Don Clagett, Brian L'Italien,
Abigail Robinson and Sarah Rodjom. The following
paragraphs abstract the formal presentations and the
subsequent question and answer sessions.


4. (U) In his opening statement, Mr. Michel Miraillet
(Director of Strategic Affairs for the French MOD)
indicated that the OPCW has made much progress in 10
years, but new developments have occurred including
the importance of non-state actors and the necessity
for the future focus of the OPCW to be on
nonproliferation issues. He said France wanted to
reinforce the effectiveness of the tools available to
the OPCW.

5. (U) Director-General Rogelio Pfirter noted that
currently, 36% of declared CW stockpiles have been
destroyed under OPCW supervision, but that 2012 is

approaching and that the U.S. and Russia must commit
all possible resources to meet this 100% destruction
deadline. He said that if there is evidence "near to
2012" that the deadline will not be met, that an
"extraordinary conference" could be convened. He
concurred with Mr. Miraillet that nonproliferation
will be the future of the OPCW, that much has changed
in the ten years of OPCW existence, to include
terrorist threats, science and technology advances,
biotechnology applications in the chemical industry,
incapacitating agent developments, among others.
Particularly related to incapacitating agents, he
stressed the use of the General Purpose Criterion, as
it covers all toxic chemicals and not just Schedule 1
chemicals. And finally, he said that it is critical
that the 12 countries still not States Parties to the
CWC should accede without delay. He named as
examples North Korea, Myanmar, Israel and Syria.


6. (U) Securing the Chemical Weapons Stockpiles and
Verification by the OPCW. Mr. Dominique Anelli, head
of the OPCW's Chemical Demilitarization Branch,
presented background information on the progress of
CW and CWPF destruction and conversion (One CWPF to
be destroyed in India and three to be converted )one
in Russia and two in Libya). He noted 16 of 37 CWSFs
remain. He digressed to Article VII issues noting
that only 79 of 183 States Parties have complete
implementing legislation. When asked whether industry
inspections as currently executed were able to
recognize new technological threats, Mr Anelli said
that inspections are limited to facilities using
scheduled chemicals and that the schedules needed to
be "updated," or failing that, the general purpose
criterion needs to be reinforced. He added that
perhaps the Second RevCon might find suitable

7. (U) Possibility of Non-Declared Chemical Weapons
States Parties to the Convention. Richard Guthrie of
CBW Events noted that there have been wild claims of
States currently possessing active CW capability.
For example report by Noaber (ed: Noaber Foundation,
Lunteren, The Netherlands) indicated that seventeen
States had such a capability, implying that five
States Parties are in violation of the CWC. Guthrie
further noted while cheating on CWC obligations is
possible, it is improbable in that it is cheap to
comply and expensive to cheat. He noted that no State
Party has an overt CW program. Still one must be
alert to three cheating scenarios: undeclared past CW
possession, undeclared current CW possession and
undeclared future possession. Any confirmed cheating
detection would need to be dealt with at the highest

8. (U) In sum, he concluded that CW is no longer a
currency of power, accession to the CWC reduces
inclination to cheat, wild claims are
counterproductive, and use of CW possession
accusations for short term political gain must be
measured against effects on long term global
security. In response to the observation that NGOs
primarily based in the developed world are viewed
with suspicion by the developing world, Mr Guthrie
said that some NGOs are working to broaden their base
and are assisting growth of related NGOs in the
developing world.

9. (U) Chemical Threat represented by States not
Party to the Convention. Ambassador Serguei
Batsanov, Director of the Pugwash Geneva Office,

observed that the threat of use of CW in the
traditional sense has declined and that threats of
use of toxic chemicals by terrorists have increased.
An additional threat lies in the fact that 12 States
are still not party to the CWC (5 have signed but not
ratified: Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Guinea-Bissau,
Israel and Myanmar) and 7 have not even signed
(Angola, North Korea, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Somalia
and Syria). In judging the CW threats posed by States
Not Party, factors to be considered include reported
use of CW in the past; manifested interest in CW and
available industrial capability, and positions taken
in relation to the CWC and the Geneva Protocol of

10. (U) Applying these criteria, the Bahamas,
Dominican Republic and Guinea Bissau present only
illegal chemical trafficking threats. Myanmar has
pharmaceutical and fertilizer industries, is alleged
to have interest in CW and thus may present a certain
chemical threat. Israel is widely perceived to have
CW know-how and industrial capability, has an
excellent WMD protection system, but has decided
against CWC ratification. However, there are no
indications that it has any intention of creating a
CW arsenal or has the need to use CW in a military
conflict. Iraq and Lebanon have had active contacts
with the OPCW and are moving toward accession to the
CWC. In Somalia, which is in a continual crisis,
traditional CW threats are low, while the threat of
use of toxic substances by terrorists is high.
Angola is developing its chemical potential, but
presents little threat.

11. (U) Syria and Egypt are on record against joining
the CWC, citing Israel's nuclear threat and Israel's
reluctance to join the CWC. Egypt has been reported
in the past to have used CW and to have had an active
CW program, so there are reasons to suspect some sort
of chemical threat in the regional context. North
Korea is widely assumed to have CW capability, but
little reliable information exists. Amb Batsanov
suggested that the situations of all these States not
Party are different, and that tailored strategies
should therefore be used to encourage them to accede
to the CWC. Amb Batsanov was queried as to what
tailored strategies to encourage ratification of the
CWC might entail. He responded that tailoring might
contain the following elements: doing serious work to
understand the countries' problems; determining what
is possible to attain in the short to mid-term
period; identifying political forces; understanding
the financial forces; determining the assistance
needed; and getting attention at the highest levels
in the countries in question. Mr Guthrie added that
consideration of domestic politics is very important.

--------------------------------------------- --------
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12. (U) The Dual Use Problem and Technical Changes:
Chemical Research Laboratories, Misuse, and the
General Purpose Criterion. Dr. John R. Walker of the
UK Arms Control and Disarmament Research Unit
(Foreign and Commonwealth Office), indicated that
declared Schedule 1 laboratories pose negligible
threats, and of the various laboratories conducting
research activities in academia, chemical industry
and the pharmaceutical industry, the smaller
laboratories posed the greatest risk for toxic
chemical and technology diversion, particularly to
terrorist groups. Necessary controls need to be put
in place, and the types of controls will in part be

dependent on the terrorist threat. These might
include promulgation of rules and regulations in
relation to documentation, access to facilities,
accounting for equipment and chemicals, physical
security training and supervision. Implementation of
rules and regulations must include consideration of
the general purpose criterion of the CWC. Dr Walker
was asked about whether challenge inspection would be
useful against rogue laboratories to which he replied
that it would.

13. (U) Which Are Presently the Most Sensitive
Technological Fields, and What Potential Risks Could
Result from Convergence between Chemistry and
Biology? Professor Jean-Claude Tabet (Pierre and
Marie Curie University, Department of Structural
Chemistry and Biology) outlined the scientific and
technological area that might pose risks to the CWC:
accelerated chemical and drug discovery processes;
nanoscience and technology; advances in production
technologies; advances in delivery systems;
bioengineering; and the convergence of chemical and
biological science and technologies. All of the above
can be considered building blocks for the development
of new chemical and biological agents. Professor
Tabet stated his view that, of these, nanotechnology
poses the greatest threat, but that in any case the
threats are real now. It was pointed out that there
is likely to be a rather large time gap between
discovery of a new technology and its weaponization.
Professor Tabet agreed and said that "now" could be
as long as 10 years in the future.

14. (U) What Fair and Effective Controls Could Be
Implemented to Further Strengthen the Chemical
Weapons Convention Verification Regime? Emmanuel
Sartorius (HFDS, French Ministry of Economics,
Finance and Employment) reviewed the experiences of
France with the OPCW Article VI verification regime
for Schedule 2, Schedule 3 and OCPF facilities during
the past 10 years. He noted that so far, France has
received 53 inspections (32 Schedule 2, 11 Schedule 3
and 10 OCPF). He observed that the emphasis on
Schedule 2 inspections may not be deserved as, in his
opinion, the relevance of the Schedule 3 and OCPF
sites to the interests of the Convention was about
the same. He noted France was concerned that
advances in science and technology such as movement
of industry to developing countries, the biological-
chemical technological convergence, microreactor
production technologies and modern process controls
might not be taken into account by the OPCW. He
further noted that the OPCW had not yet observed
noncompliance and asked whether this was because
there had been no noncompliance, or because the
verification regime was not capable of detecting

15. (U) Sartorius suggested that the verification
regime could be strengthened by: improved
declarations (quality control, frequency of updates,
nil declarations as appropriate); improving the
Technical Secretariat's efficiency (enhanced
declaration analysis and feedback to States Parties;
declarations of OCPFs to contain more activity
information such as multipurpose/dedicated,
continuous/batch, linkage between government and
industry); increased numbers of industry inspections;
increased numbers of OCPF inspection with concomitant
reduction in Schedule 2 inspections; improved
geographic distribution of inspections; improved
selection of plant sites for inspection (taking into
account quality of information in the declaration,
prior inspection information, level of State Party
cooperation, technical changes in the plant site, use
of relevant open source data); reduced costs of

inspection by reducing inspection team sizes; and
adapting inspection procedures to account for
advances in science and technology including
microreactors, biotechnology and advice of the
Scientific Advisory Board (SAB).

16. (U) Sartorius noted that sampling and analysis
should be employed only where needed, and as required
beyond Schedule 2 facilities to include Schedule 3
facilities and OCPFs. Sampling should be done at
valid sample points, and there should be an
operational mode between open and blinded modes.
Further, sampling and analysis should include
quantification, and sampling and analysis equipment
should be modernized. Mr Sartorius suggested that the
Verification Division should be augmented by a
Documentation Center whose role would be to locate
information from open sources to augment declared
information of plant sites and track developments in
science and technology. He hoped that the Second
RevCon would take his points into account. It was
observed that changes in Technical Secretariat
structure would require financial and organizational
means. The importance of the SAB in addressing
advances in science and technology was generally
supported. And it was pointed out that use of open
source information could have difficulty finding
political support, but that additional information
would be a valuable resource to the Technical
Secretariat for improving the efficiency of the
inspection regimes.

17. (U) The Importance of Taking into Account Non-
State Actors. Mr. Claude Wachtel, of the French
Secretary General's Office of National Defense, noted
that terrorist attacks using chemicals, whether the
Tokyo attack of 1995 or the chlorine attacks in Iraq
have been crude and non-optimized. However, the
scenarios are different, and this creates the problem
of how to prepare for an attack with an effective
security plan. There is the risk of overestimation.
Balance is required. With non-state actors we are
facing a very wide range of chemical possibilities,
blurred boundaries between terrorism and crime which
might be motivated by maliciousness, vengeance,
rebellion against society, and criminal intent. The
spread of knowledge is also a problem, and the
availability of skilled technician and high-level
scientists for recruitment by non-state actors
increases the threat. Thus, involvement of non-state
actors creates complexity and uncertainty for which,
to date, there is no easy solution. As a suffix to
other comments suggesting OPCW involvement in anti-
terrorism activities, Amb. Javits commented that the
OPCW cannot go beyond the tools provided by the CWC
and that the Second RevCon can address how to apply
these tools, one of the most potent of which is
investigation of alleged use.

18. (U) Mapping of New Flows Involving Chemical
Products. Mr. Neil Harvey (Head International Trade,
UK Industries Association) presented background
information on the chemical industry that was
collected by CEFIC, the European chemical industry
trade organization, that was current as of 2006. He
noted that the chemical industry in the EU alone
produced over 30,000 products that fell into 4
groups: basic (42.7%), pharmaceuticals (27.9%),
specialties (19.2% and consumer (10.2%). Of these,
the specialty chemicals would offer the best
resources for terrorist chemical activities although
consumer products are, of course, more readily
available. World wide, $1.6 trillion worth of
chemicals were produced in 2006. The relative values
of production globally are: Asia (33%), EU (29%),
NAFTA (25%), Eastern Europe (5%), Latin America (5%),

Others (2%). These figures include a shift of
approximately 10% in production from the EU and NAFTA
mainly to Asia in the past decade, which is likely to
continue, as GDP growth is the driver for chemical
industry investment.

19. (U) Mr. Harvey noted his concern that illicit
chemical activities might be promoted in the
increasing numbers of available closed chemical
facilities in the Western World. In response to
questions about what industry was doing to fight
terrorism, Harvey said CEFIC had initiated a program
to identify consumer chemical products that might
find use in chemical devices and will seek to find
ways of reformulating these products to reduce their
potential. He also noted that the International
Association of Chemical Industries had promoted the
idea of knowing your customer before you sell or ship
chemicals, and that it is promoting membership to
countries in the developing world.

(U) Use of Chemical Products as Devices for Non-
Conventional Terrorism. Mr. Brian L'Italien
(Intelligence Officer, U.S. Defense Intelligence
Agency), focused on terrorist organizations' interest
in poisons and chemical warfare, particularly by
Islamic extremist groups in Iraq. He noted that the
terrorists tend to rely on conventional explosives
for attacks due to their easy accessibility,
familiarity, ease of use and perhaps, less perceived
population backlash against the use of conventional
rather than chemical devices. Various groups have
shared information on CBRN over the Internet. Open
press reporting cites ten attacks (including attacks
on Coalition Forces) in Iraq since October 2006 that
involved chlorine, an industrial chemical. The last
reported chlorine attack occurred in July 2007. Few
people were killed by the chlorine, but the attacks
received extensive publicity. There have been no
reported chlorine attacks in Afghanistan. The
terrorists have not re-initiated chlorine attacks.

20. (U) Terrorists have evidenced interest in
traditional CW, especially in Iraqi pre-1991 legacy
munitions. There has been some evidence of interest
in homemade CW, as evidenced by captured documents in
Afghanistan. However, it is seen as unlikely that
toxic chemicals and or CW agents will be widely used
by terrorists and that conventional explosives will
continue to be the weapons of choice. In response to
a question about the threat recovered Iraqi CW
munitions posed to Coalition Forces, L'Italien noted
that their psychological impact was likely to be far
greater than their lethal effects.


21. (U) UK Ambassador Lyn Parker, Chairman of the
Open Ended Working Group for Preparation of the
Review Conference, indicated that preparations by the
OEWG for the Second RevCon had been ongoing for one
and one-half years with a goal to provide a draft
report document with clearly delineated texts, parts
of which had received consensus and some of which
would continue to be debated. This process had
proved difficult. Amb. Parker said that this was
perhaps due to the OPCW being in a transitional
period in which CW destruction is moving towards
completion and nonproliferation is becoming more the
focus of the Organization. In spite of changes that
have occurred since entry into force of the
Convention, particularly developments in science and
technology and changes in industry, he noted that the
Second RevCon was unlikely to pursue significant

initiatives, but would more probably recognize what
the OPCW has achieved and consolidate what has been

22. (U) Ambassador Jean-Michel Gaussot, Permanent
Representative of France to the OPCW, said that the
OPCW had made significant progress since its
inception, but not all goals had been achieved. In
his view, remaining goals included completion of CW
destruction; universal adherence to the CWC; full
implementation of Article VII obligations by all
States Parties; achieving an efficient and improved
verification system with increased emphasis on OCPFs
(and even the possible installation of a
Documentation Center with open source
responsibilities); better coordination with the UN in
relation to terrorism; and response to the new
developments in science and technology. These are all
challenges for the Second RevCon.

23. (U) Javits sends.

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