UN: Syria capable of meeting chemical weapons deadline
A UN official says Syria can meet a midyear deadline for the elimination of its chemical weapons stockpile.
Sigrid Kaag, head of the joint mission of the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), said on Friday that the Syrian government could send its remaining chemical arms out of the country within a month.
“We think the current plan is realistic and workable,” Kaag said.
“However, we have always been very clear in stating that the month of March remains very critical in order to attain the overall timetable.”
The OPCW said in a statement on March 19 that Syria had removed almost half of its chemical weapons stockpile including its entire stock of lethal mustard gas.
Over the past week, two shipments were transferred from the port city of Latakia to Norwegian and Danish vessels in the Mediterranean Sea for destruction outside Syria.
Syria has scrapped more than 45 percent of its Category 1 and Category 2 chemicals and remains committed to the destruction of its entire arsenal by the June 30 deadline.
Once all the chemicals are delivered, they will be taken to a US vessel - MV Cape Ray - and will be broken down at sea using hydrolysis, a process which is expected to take 90 days.
On September 14, 2013, Russia and the United States agreed on a deal under which Syria would see its chemical weapons eliminated and the United States would in return not carry out planned strikes against Syria.
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- Syria fails to meet its extended deadline for initial phase of chemical weapon destruction
- OPCW: 86.5 percent of chemical weapons removed from Syria