OPCW begins probing Syria chemical arms data

OPCW begins probing Syria chemical arms data
Sat Sep 21, 2013 14:08:47

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has announced that it is in the process of studying the details provided by the Syrian government on its arsenal of chemical weapons as part the a joint US-Russia deal to take over control of such arms and ultimately destroy them.

Syria has agreed to submit by the end of Saturday a full list of its chemical arsenal to OPCW, which is tasked with implementing the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The country’s entire chemical weapons arsenal is to be dismantled by mid-2014 under the terms of the US-Russia agreement on the effort.

OPCW spokesman Michael Luhan said Syria's submission of the documents was an "initial declaration".

Luhan further added that Syria’s report is now being examined by the organization’s technical secretariat but he declined to elaborate on its content.

The US-Russian deal aims to have inspectors on the ground in Syria in November, when they will make an initial assessment and oversee the destruction of certain equipment.

Syria accepted the proposal, which was initially put forward by Russia as a way to head off Washington’s possible use of force against Damascus.

Washington had threatened to take military action against Syria over the unsubstantiated claim that the Syrian government carried out a deadly chemical attack near Damascus on August 21.

Damascus has repeatedly rejected the accusation.

The destruction of all of Syria's chemical weapons would then be completed by middle of next year.

The core members of the OPCW were expected to vote on the timetable next week.

However, the OPCW announced in a statement on Friday that a meeting of its executive council scheduled for Sunday had been postponed, without elaborating.

"We will announce the new date and time... as soon as possible," it added.

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