Removal of Syria chemicals 75% complete: OPCW

Removal of Syria chemicals 75% complete: OPCW
Sat Apr 19, 2014 12:45:06

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) that oversees the program of destroying Syria’s chemical arms arsenal has declared that 75 percent of the process has been completed.

OPCW’s Friday announcement, which included a report that the country had delivered another shipment of its chemicals for destruction abroad, comes as the deadline for the destruction of the toxic agents in Syria approaches, the US-based New York Times reported.

The latest consignment, the 16th delivered to the Syrian port of Latakia, consisted of eight containers, including “priority one” precursor chemicals for making sarin gas, said OPCW spokesman Christian Chartier in a telephone interview.

That brought the total amount of Syrian chemical weapons that have been either shipped for destruction abroad or destroyed in the country to just over 75 percent, Chartier added.

The delivery which was made this week, was the third in less than two weeks, signaling an acceleration in shipments by Syria in a bid to make up for lengthy delays that caused it to miss a deadline of early February for completing the process.

The delays in removal of the chemicals has been contributed to the military threat posed by armed insurgents in the country that receive weapons and supplies from a number of regional as well some Western countries that are pressing Syria on a rapid shipment of the toxic agents out of the country.

Even with the recent speedup, there appears little likelihood that Syria will be able to finish the job by the revised deadline of April 27, but it raises the possibility of completion soon after. “What matters is that very soon we will be able to announce that all chemicals have been removed,” Chartier said.

A team from the chemical weapons organization has visited Syria to advise on the destruction program, and its report is due at a meeting of the organization’s executive council on April 29.

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