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Public Papers - 1993

Statement on Completion of the Chemical Weapons Convention


For more than 20 years the United States and many other countries have labored to achieve a ban on chemical weapons. The long-awaited Chemical Weapons Convention is now completed and open for signature.

I have had a deep and abiding personal interest in the success of the effort to ban these terrible weapons. As Vice President, I had the honor on two occasions to address the Conference on Disarmament and to present United States proposals to give impetus to the negotiations. As President, I directed the United States to take new initiatives to advance and conclude the negotiations. The United States is profoundly gratified that these talks have now been successfully concluded.

The countries that participated in the negotiations at the conference on disarmament deserve special congratulations. The Chemical Weapons Convention is uniquely important in the field of arms control agreements. It will improve the security of all nations by eliminating a class of weapons of mass destruction that exists in all quarters of the world and that has been used in recent conflicts. It is a truly stabilizing and nondiscriminatory agreement.

The United States strongly supports the Chemical Weapons Convention and is proud to be an original signatory. We are encouraged that so many other states have also decided to take this step. This clearly demonstrates global international endorsement of the convention and the new norm of international conduct that it establishes. However, we must not cease our efforts until the norm becomes truly universal, with all countries becoming not only signatories but also parties to the convention.

Much work remains to make the convention fully effective. The United States will cooperate closely with other countries to bring the convention into force as soon as possible and to ensure that it is faithfully implemented. Only then will we be able to say that the risk of chemical warfare is no longer a threat to people anywhere in the world.

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