Chemical watchdog to deploy second team to Syria

October 8, 2013 | By | Reply More

Oct 08, –  The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons “will deploy a second team of inspectors for the mission in Syria,” it said in a statement.

“That will augment the advance team of OPCW experts, who have been in Syria since October 1 conducting verification and destruction activities,” it said, without providing further details on the new inspectors.

hromedia - 2nd chemical weapons teamThe OPCW, which has until mid-2014 to complete the destruction of Syria’s chemical arsenal under the terms of a Russia-US-brokered agreement, is holding a regular meeting of its Executive Council this week.

The organisation’s Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu briefed diplomats at the meeting on progress made so far in Syria. He is due to hold a press conference near OPCW headquarters in The Hague on Wednesday.

He confirmed that Syria was cooperating with the joint OPCW-UN disarmament mission, and had on Sunday begun destroying some chemical weapons.

A range of other items was also being destroyed “towards the goal of rendering unusable all production facilities and mixing and filling equipment by November 1 of this year,” the statement said.

“These developments present a constructive beginning for what will nonetheless be a long and difficult process,” Uzumcu said.

A deal providing for the UN to facilitate security and field logistics for the mission will be inked shortly, he added.

UN leader Ban Ki-moon said on Monday that around 100 international experts would have to spend up to a year in war-torn Syria to destroy its chemical weapons in an unprecedented mission.

A joint UN-OPCW mission would supervise the destruction of President Bashar Al Assad’s chemical arms in line with a Security Council resolution passed on September 27, Ban said in a report to the UN Security Council.

A team of around 20 experts is already in Syria to start the destruction of weapons production facilities.

Ban recommended that the mission have its headquarters in Damascus and a support base in nearby Cyprus.

Russia has praised Damascus for “very actively” cooperating with the chemical weapons inspectors, and the US has welcomed progress made so far.

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Category: Arab uprising

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