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– written and compiled by Tim Farnsworth
May-June: Syrian Chemical Weapons Removal
As of today, most of Syria’s chemical weapons have been removed from its borders. Only eight percent is still waiting to be removed. According to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the remaining stockpiles are located at one site and are unable to be moved due to security concerns. Syria missed its deadline of April 27 to remove all chemical weapons from Syria. The most sensitive material will be transported to the port of Gioia Tauro, Italy and then transferred to the specially-outfitted U.S. vessel, MV Cape Ray, for chemical neutralization.
For more resources on Syria’s chemical weapons and their removal, see:
- “Timeline of Syrian Chemical Weapons Activity, 2012-2014,” Arms Control Association, Fact Sheet.
- “Syria Misses Chemical Removal Deadline,” Daniel Horner, Arms Control Today, May 2014.
- Statement to the Forty-First Meeting of the Executive Council by Robert P. Mikulak, U.S. Permanent Representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, The Hague, Netherlands, May 22, 2014
May-June: Possible GBI Missile Defense Test
The U.S. Missile Defense Agency is planning to conduct a test of its Ground-based interceptor missile, CE-II, sometime over the next month. The CE-I and CE-II interceptors are currently deployed at the two sites on the West Coast, yet continue to fail recent tests and have yet to be tested under a realistic threat scenario.
J. Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon’s director of operational test and evaluation, has called for a redesign of the interceptors instead of continuing to invest billions in a missile defense system that has failed to demonstrate its desired capability.
For more resources on U.S. missile defense systems, see:
- “Missile Defense Tester Calls for Redesign,” by Tom Z. Collina, Arms Control Today, March 2014.
- “U.S. Missile Defense Programs at a Glance,” Fact Sheet, Arms Control Association.
June 2-6: IAEA Board of Governors Meeting
The 35-member International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors are scheduled to meet in Vienna, June 2-6. The meeting comes just one week after the organization released its latest report on progress on the IAEA-Iran workplan to resolve questions about Iran past activities. Among the issues on the agenda are the nuclear programs of North Korea and Iran. For updates see the IAEA website.
June 3-4: NATO Defense Ministers Meeting in Brussels
U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is scheduled to meet with other NATO countries defense ministers in Brussels. The officials are expected to discuss a range of topics, including the on-going situation in Ukraine.
What is not expected to be on the agenda, and is still a lingering issue, is the possibility of reducing the number tactical nuclear weapons stationed in NATO countries. The stationing of tactical nuclear weapons throughout Europe has been an on-going internal debate among the NATO leaders.
For the latest on the issue of tactical nuclear weapons in Europe, check out the following resources:
- “Trapped: NATO, Russia, and the Problem of Tactical Nuclear Weapons,” by Oliver Meier and Simon Lunn, Arms Control Today, February 2014.
- “NATO Sticks With Nuclear Policy,” by Oliver Meier, Arms Control Today, January 2012.
G8 G7 Leaders Meet in Sochi Vienna
President Obama will travel to Vienna to meet with other G7 world leaders from June 4-5. Originally, the leaders from the original G8 were to meet in Sochi, Russia, but as a result of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions in Crimea and Ukraine, Russia has been removed from the group and the location of the meeting changed.