Defense Threat Reduction AgencyDefense Threat Reduction Agency

Albania Eliminates Chemical Weapons Stockpile

Photo Caption: An operator loads mustard agent canisters from the glove box onto a forklift for delivery into the kiln for agent destruction at the thermal treatment facility at Oaf Molla, Albania. (DTRA photo)

Albania’s leaders made a major contribution to global security when they sought assistance of the United States in eliminating the country’s sixteen metric tons of obsolete chemical weapons in 2004.

Nunn-Lugar funding and expertise met the non-proliferation challenge, and DTRA played a major role in this effort. Because transporting the chemical weapons out of the dangerous and remote mountainous area of Albania proved to be too dangerous, CTR program managers designed and equipped a small chemical weapons disposal facility in Germany, then transported it to the Balkan nation. Using thermal treatment technology, the chemical weapon stockpile was destroyed.

Through the cooperative work of DTRA and Albania’s national ministries, Albania became the first nation, in July 2007, to certify to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons that it completely eliminated its chemical weapons.

This was an important first test of the value of expanding the CTR program to countries outside the former Soviet Union to solve WMD proliferation problems.

Senator Lugar has commented that the Albania success shows that former enemies can work well together, and that Nunn-Lugar is a valuable tool to address similar risks in the Middle East, Asia and anyplace where supplies of weapons of mass destruction may be located.