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Bhutan to Join OPCW

Bhutan is to join the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) next month, the OPCW announced on Wednesday.

"The Kingdom of Bhutan deposited its instrument of ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) with the Secretary General of the United Nations on August 18, 2005," an OPCW press release, sent to Xinhua on Wednesday, said.

The CWC rules require that an applicant country become a full member state of the OPCW, after a 30-day period following the deposit of its instrument of ratification.

Bhutan is thus to become the 171st member state of the Hague-based organization.

Under the CWC treaty, the OPCW verifies the irreversible destruction of declared chemical weapons stockpiles, as well as the elimination of all declared chemical weapons production facilities.

"Bhutan's ratification of the CWC confirms the universal validity of this multilateral instrument, which bans the development, production, stockpiling, use or transfer of chemical weapons and enhances collective security through the verified elimination of an entire category of weapons of mass destruction," said the OPCW.

The CWC is an international and multilateral disarmament treaty which bans the development, production, stockpiling, transfer and use of chemical weapons.

Members of the CWC are obligated to declare any chemical-weapons- related activities, destroy any stockpiles of chemical weapons within stipulated deadlines, as well as inactivate and eliminate any chemical weapon production capacity within their jurisdiction.

The treaty came into effect in 1997 and provided the OPCW with a mandate to enforce the elimination of chemical weapons.

(Xinhua News Agency August 25, 2005)

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