The Financial Express

Chemical weapons stockpile may remain in Myanmar: US

Published: November 26, 2019 16:31:43 | Updated: November 26, 2019 21:36:06

Chemical weapons stockpile may remain in Myanmar: US

Myanmar is in breach of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) as a chemical weapons stockpile may remain in the country, the United States said on Monday.

Thomas DiNanno, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State of US, came up with the statement during the annual meeting of the Organisation of the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague on Monday, according to global news agencies.

“The US has serious concerns that a chemical weapons stockpile may remain at Myanmar’s historical chemical weapons facility,” Thomas DiNanno.

Myanmar ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention in 2015, which prohibits the development or production of chemical weapons.

The US official said his country has information that Myanmar had not yet declared or destroyed a 1980s-era chemical weapons programme which included a sulphur mustard development programme and a chemicals weapons production facility.

“Based on available information, the United States certifies that Myanmar is in non-compliance with the CWC, due to its failure to declare its past chemical weapons programme and to destroy its chemical weapons facility."

This is not the first time Myanmar has faced accusations of maintaining a chemicals weapons program. In 2013, a parliamentary report accused police of using phosphorus against protestors.

In 2014, five journalists were sentenced to 10 years in prison over an article showing the military producing chemical arms.

The article, published in Unity Journal, alleged that Myanmar had been working on a secret chemicals weapons production facility in the Pauk Township of the Magwe Division since 2009. The government denied the charges, saying the facility was a standard ordinance factory.

The US official said that Washington had held talks with Myanmar’s government and military and stood “ready to assist Myanmar” in destroying these weapons.

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