Syria packed more chemicals for shipping out: UN

Syria packed more chemicals for shipping out: UN
Fri Apr 4, 2014 16:27:03

Syria has packed up another 40 percent of its chemical weapons to be transferred outside the country for destruction, a UN official says.

Sigrid Kaag, head of the joint mission of the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), told the Security Council on Thursday that the chemicals had been loaded into 72 containers at three different sites in Syria, diplomats attending the closed-door session cited her as saying.

With the shipment of the 72 containers out of Syria, some 90 percent of the declared chemical weapons stockpile in the country will have been removed for destruction, according to Kaag.

Almost 54 percent of Syria’s declared chemicals have so far been taken out of the country.

The UN official further stated that the Syrian army had tasked its forces to provide security for the UN convoys in the country’s port city of Latakia, where Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal is to be shipped out for destruction in the sea.

Since March 20, the Syrian army has been engaged in heavy fighting with foreign-backed Takfiri militants in Latakia near the Turkish border.

During the Thursday briefing, Kaag further said Damascus had announced earlier this week that it wanted to resume transporting chemicals to Latakia “in coming days” after a temporary halt in the operation because of the violence in Latakia.

She added that if operations resumed immediately, the deadlines to remove all the chemicals from Syria by the end of April and to destroy them by June 30 could still be met.

Also on Thursday, Syria’s UN Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari said the militants “are still shelling the port of Latakia,” adding, “They want to embarrass the government, [and] show it’s incapable” of meeting the deadline.

Last September, the Security Council approved a resolution supporting a Russia-US deal to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons by mid-2014.

The deal was reached after Moscow offered Syria to place its chemical weapons arsenal under international supervision to avert US controversial decision to bomb Syria.


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