The problem of verification of international treaties or agreements is one of obtaining reliable, continuous and highly accurate evidence that treaties are being honoured by their signatories, without infringing upon such principles of international law as sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference in domestic affairs. While the verification problem arises in part from the degree of effectiveness of the national technical means available for monitoring purposes, it actually stems more from the cold-war legacy of mistrust and suspicion in relations between countries with different social systems, and by the constant fuelling of this mistrust and suspicion by the opponents of international disarmament.
The problem of non-verification of compliance is used as a means of opposing disarmament and détente. This problem must be solved in the interests of preserving peace, averting war, and halting the arms race.
The [Chemical Weapons Convention] (1993) represents an outstanding achievement of multilateral diplomacy. It provides for the complete elimination of an entire category of weapons of mass destruction -- weapons that exist in large quantities, that are believed to be possessed by some two score countries, and that have, in several cases, been used in combat, and it provides for a comprehensive verification system. The challenge inspection regime, which is one element of that system, constitutes a novelty in the verification of a universally applicable arms control and disarmament treaty, balancing the verification interests of both a State party and the international community.