OPCW finalizes Syria chemical weapons destruction plan, details to be released Wednesday
The UN chemical watchdog overseeing the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons stockpile successfully finalized and approved the details of the plan Tuesday, according to Agence France-Presse.
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is now ready to "push ahead" with the removal project despite previous concerns that already established deadlines would not be reached in time. The mission plans to destroy all of Syria's chemical weapons by mid-2014. “Efforts continue to implement the plan, but there is realism that there are challenges,” a diplomat who participated in the OPCW meeting told AFP."
OPCW is expected to release the details of the plan Wednesday.
Syria's declared stockpile is estimated at 1,300 tons.
Denmark, Norway, Italy and the US have already offered boat vessels or ports to assist in the destruction of the weapons. The Danish and Norwegian vessels have already arrived in Cyprus to implement the first stage of the chemical weapons removal. The two vessels will allegedly transfer the first batch of weapons from Syria's port city Latakia to a US vessel in the Mediterranean for destruction.
However, the OPCW-UN mission inspectors involved in the project have told officials that Syrian regime forces, who are responsible for moving the chemicals to Latakia, have "struggled to get secure packaging materials to storage sites."
The OPCW hopes to have the first batch of weapons, considered the most dangerous, removed from Syria by the end of the year, but it is likely that the deadline will be moved to a later date given the current circumstances.