Cablegate: Chemical Weapons Convention (Cwc): Russian

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

This is CWC-71-03.


1. In Delegation's view, during these meetings it became
clear that Russia does not intend, and perhaps never
intended, to abide by the present terms of the CTR MOU dated
14 March and signed by then-Director of the Russian Munitions
Agency Zinovy Pak. The Russian delegation expressed its view
that the U.S. Aberdeen Chemical Destruction Facility
documents under consideration by the Council were
problematic, as written, because they identified a
non-contiguous commercial chemical facility as a declared
part of the Aberdeen destruction facility. This was
problematic in that it set a precedent Russia would be unable
to follow. Specifically, Russia could not declare the
various commercial facilities it intended to use to destroy
the "reaction mass" created by hydrolysis because it was
limited by law to declaring six destruction facilities.
Queried by the U.S. Delegation as to how this concern could
be reconciled with Russia's commitment, as embodied in the
March 14 MOU signed between the U.S. CTR program and t
he Russian Munitions Agency, to perform the final destruction
of such reaction mass as the CTR-funded Schuch'ye facility,
the Russian delegation indicated that Russia would seek to
avail itself of the clause in the MOU which permitted the
parties to agree, in writing, to alternative arrangements.
In making this point, the Russian delegation indicated that
the MOU had been signed by Pak without the knowledge of other
interested officials in the Russian government and, in fact,
resulted directly in Pak fired.

2. The Russian Federation is clearly of the view that all of
its CWPF conversions are "completed" except for buildings 352
and 353 at Novocheboksarsk. (These two buildings are
necessary to house equipment and operations associated with
the destruction of building 350). All other conversion
requests, in the view of the Russian Federation, are complete
because the facilities are demilitarized. The Russians, in
sharp contrast to the CWC, TS, US and others, do not accept
that a conversion is complete only when the agreed commercial
process is installed and producing "widgets." This
difference will likely need to be aired at future EC's.

"Problems" with U.S. Aberdeen Documents

3. On June 24, 2003, members of the U.S. delegation to the
33rd session of the OPCW Executive Council met with their
Russian counterparts to discuss a number of CWC-related U.S.
and Russian documents under consideration by the Council.
See wrap-up of EC-33, with final document outcomes, septel.

4. During the discussion, Russian representative Viacheslav
Kulebyakin, State Secretary of the Russian Munitions Agency
(RMA) indicated that the Russian Federation considers two of
the U.S. documents - the Facility Agreement and the Agreed
Detailed Plan for the Verification of Destruction of Chemical
Weapons at the Aberdeen Chemical Agent Disposal Facility,
Aberdeen, Maryland, to be problematic. In particular, the
fact that the U.S. had declared a secondary treatment,
storage, and disposal facility at DuPont Chamber Works, as a
non-contiguous part of the Aberdeen destruction facility,
created a precedent that would cause Russia certain problems
(Note: The Aberdeen chemical weapon (CW) destruction facility
eliminates CW in a two-stage process. In the first stage, CW
agent is neutralized through hydrolysis with water and Sodium
hydroxide at the Aberdeen Proving Ground facility in
Maryland. The resultant hydrolysate is subsequently
transported to the DuPont Chamber Works facility in
Deepwater, New Jersey, where it is irreversibly disposed of
through a biotreatment process. In the interest of
transparency, the U.S. declared the DuPont facility as part
of the Aberdeen destruction facility, subject to verification
under the terms of the CWC. End Note.) Russia could not,
Kulebyakin concluded, join consensus on these two U.S.
documents during this session of the Council.

5. Kulebyakin noted that, inasmuch as Russia intended to
employ a similar process of hydrolysis for its nerve agent
stockpile, it would face the same prospect of having to
dispose of the hydrolysate, and intended to do so at
commercial facilities. Moreover, under its laws Russia could
only maintain up to six CW destruction facilities. It
followed from this that Russia could not declare all of the
commercial facilities it might use for final disposition to
be destruction facilities under the terms of the CWC, as the
U.S. had. It was also not clear to Russia why the U.S. would
even want to do such a thing, given the additional burdens
(unelaborated) created by declaring a commercial facility to
be part of the Aberdeen production facility.

6. After discussing the issue internally, the U.S.
delegation pointed out that in a Memorandum of Understanding
(MOU) signed by former RMA Director Zinovy Pak, Russia had
committed to conducting final disposition of all nerve agent
at the U.S.-funded elimination facility at Schuch'ye, as a
precondition for the release of $160M in CTR funds.
Therefore, the question of disposing of hydrolysate at
commercial facilities, over which Russia was expressing
concern, is moot.

7. Kulebyakin responded that Mr. Pak was no longer Director
of the RMA, and pointed to the clause in the MOU that allows
the parties to reach some alternative agreement in writing.
Ambassador Javits asked if he should report to Washingtonthat
Russia did not intend to abide by the terms of the MOU, i.e.
it did not/not intend to dispose of its nerve agent
hydrolysate at Schuch'ye. Kulebyakin responded that
Ambassador Javits should not, but also stated that Russia
intended to avail itself of the option to negotiate other
arrangements. In doing so Kulebyakin asserted that Pak had
signed the MOU without the knowledge of anyone else,
including himself (Kulebyakin). He said that when he
discovered what Pak had done, he was dismayed over the MOU's

8. Kulebyakin stated that to ship hydrolysate to Schuch'ye
from the various neutralization locations , would require the
expenditure of billions of dollars. The gas, electric and
water supply infrastructure at Schuch'ye are inadequate for
the large-scale facility that would be required to do adhere
to the MOU. Sizeable infrastructure upgrades would be needed
as well as the additional industrial facility, specifically
another destruction building. Shipping hydrolysate across
thousands of kilometers of Russia would also mean that new
railroad track would have to be laid to avoid population
centers, since Russian law prohibits transporting such
material through population areas above a certain size.
Adequate rolling stock would also be required and is
extremely expensive to produce. If the U.S. is willing to
pay for all this, it could be done. Short of that, Russia
was simply not in a position to accommodate. If the U.S.
wants it this way, the U.S. will need to pay for it - and the
price would be huge.

9. During bilateral consultations, Kulebyakin stated on
several occasions that the RF was having great difficulty in
attracting foreign investment to its converted facilities.
Deloff asked for a list of facilities that were having
difficulty in attracting foreign assistance. RMA official
Michailov responded that chloroether, aminomercaptan, and
loading of sub-munitions into munitions at Novocheboksarsk
along with sarin production and soman production at Volgograd
do not have adequate foreign assistance. The larger problem
is at Novocheboksarsk according to Michailov.

10. In a separate conversation, Mr. Valery Semin of the
Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed U.S. delegation
member David Weekman that Dr. Pak was fired by the Russian
Prime Minister and President Putin as a direct result of his
signing the 14 March CTR Amendment. Semin claimed that this
agreement was not coordinated in Moscow. (Comment: In
Delegation's view, during these meetings it became clear that
Russia does not intend, and perhaps never intended, to abide
by the present terms of the MOU. The Russian Delegation's
comments during the June 23 destruction informals and during
the general debate at the EC (see septel) were consistent
with the approach they took in private meetings. End

10. Javits sends.

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