Russia's lower house of parliament yesterday ratified an international chemical arms ban that would oblige Moscow to destroy its huge arsenals and convert production facilities to peaceful use before 2007. The State Duma, which had previously refused to back the ban on development, production and use of chemical weapons, voted 288-75 to accept Kremlin arguments that they were more of a threat to national security than a guarantee of it.
The ratification bill still needs the approval of the Federation Council upper house, where it is expected to encounter little resistance, and of President Boris Yeltsin, who has already backed it.
- Reuters, Moscow
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