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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Albania Forsakes Chemical Weapons

THE HAGUE -- Albania has become the first country to destroy its entire arsenal of chemical weapons, a UN watchdog organization said Friday.

The Albanians have eliminated 16,678 kilograms of mustard gas and other chemical agents that were banned under an international treaty signed by 182 nations, said the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

OPCW inspectors verified the destruction Thursday, the organization said in a statement. "Albania is the first nation completely and verifiably to destroy all of its chemical weapons," the agency said.

Since 1997 when the treaty came into force, about one-third of the declared stockpiles of 71,000 tons of chemical agents have been destroyed, the organization said.

The United States and Russia control the vast majority of chemical weapons and are behind schedule. The OPCW has set a 2012 deadline for completion.