UN chemical experts report major progress in Syria

UN chemical experts report major progress in Syria
Thu Oct 3, 2013 23:45:04

UN-led chemical weapons experts have reported making "encouraging initial progress" following their discussions with government officials in Damascus.

The team of inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said the documents handed over to them by Syrian authorities on Wednesday “looked promising,” media outlets reported Thursday.

The UN-backed chemical experts further stated that that the analysis of technical diagrams would be essential and "more questions remain to be answered," the reports add.

This is while onsite inspections and chemical arms deactivating efforts are scheduled to commence next week.

According to an official UN statement, the timetable for their field inspection work will depend on the outcome of preparatory talks with Syrian chemical experts that began on Wednesday.

The experts said they wanted to verify the information handed over by the Syrian government. Their next stated priority was to ensure the inspection teams' safety and security.

This is while UN spokesman Martin Nesirky announced that "the technical experts need to study everything they are given very closely.”

"There is clearly... good cooperation with the Syrian authorities at the expert level to try to understand the material provided to the advance team from the UN and OPCW," he added.

Nineteen disarmament experts arrived in Syria on Tuesday with the objective of implementing a recent UN resolution requiring the elimination of Syria's chemical weapons arsenal by mid-2014.

One of the key areas they are working on is to make practical arrangements for destroying chemical weapons material and equipment.

A UN-led effort to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons was agreed by the world body’s Security Council last week.

The resolution was based on a deal reached by the United States and Russia in Geneva in September, when Syria submitted to the OPCW a full account of its chemical arms.

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