BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in:  World: Europe
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Monday, 22 April, 2002, 21:09 GMT 22:09 UK
Chemical weapons body sacks head
Jose Bustani
Bustani: "I'm out of a job"
The body that polices the ban on chemical weapons has ousted its chairman, after the United States threatened to withhold funding.

The US objected to Jose Bustani's plans to encourage Iraq to join the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

This decision is an essential first step in restoring stability and sound management to this very important organisation

US State Department spokeswoman
Mr Bustani believed it would be a means to carry out new arms inspections in Iraq.

But the US said the inspections envisaged by the Brazilian director-general would be too lenient.

The 145-member OPCW was formed in 1997 to oversee the implementation of a treaty banning the manufacture, stockpiling and use of chemical arms.

It has a similar watchdog role to that of the better known International Atomic Energy Agency in the nuclear field.

Washington contributes over 20% of the organisation's $60m annual budget.


The proposal at a crisis meeting in The Hague called by the US was carried by 48 to seven, with 43 countries abstaining.

The Americans - who backed Mr Bustani's re-appointment just a year ago - accuse him of pursuing ill-conceived initiatives and of poor management.

But Mr Bustani's supporters say his efforts to get Iraq to sign up to the chemical weapons convention have angered the Americans, as it would weaken the case for a US attack to oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

Washington opened a public campaign against Mr Bustani two months ago, less than a year after Secretary of State Colin Powell congratulated him for the achievements under his leadership.

The BBC defence correspondent says this episode is going to raise further concerns over US actions after similar American pressure, last week, led to the removal of the head of the United Nations climate control body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The United States has said it hopes the organisation will approve a new director-general very soon and expects the nominee to come from a developing country.

It would particularly welcome a person from Latin America, a spokeswoman said.

See also:

19 Apr 02 | Sci/Tech
Climate scientist ousted
21 Apr 00 | Europe
Yugoslavia bans chemical weapons
31 Mar 00 | Europe
Russian plea on chemical weapons
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories