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UN reminds Damascus of obligations to eliminate chemical agents

October 15, 2013, 8:29 UTC+3

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday welcomed the entry into force of the Convention for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in Syria

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UNITED NATIONS, October 15 (Itar-Tass) - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday welcomed the entry into force of the Convention for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in Syria.

“This event is long overdue and is certainly welcome,” UN Secretary-General spokesperson Martin Nesirky told Itar-Tass. However, he pointed out that there was “much work ahead” to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons program by the efforts of experts of the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

“Various obligations must be met. Until now we have seen a good level of cooperation in the work that is carried out in Syria by OPCW inspectors with UN support,” he said. Nesirky emphasized with the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention in Syria this activity “will be held within an appropriate framework” that would help to complete the work in time.

Syria, the chemical weapons stockpiles of which are estimated at 1,000 tons, has became the 190th country - party to the CWC and the OPCW. Damascus had passed the accession instruments to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on September 14.

Two weeks later, the OPCW Executive Council approved a plan for the destruction of chemical weapons in Syria, which was immediately supported by the UN Security Council Resolution No 2118. All 15 member countries of the UN Security Council voted for the document.

According to the OPCW, “On 14 October 2013, the Chemical Weapons Convention entered into force for the Syrian Arab Republic, making it the 190th State Party to the treaty. Syria deposited its instrument of accession with the United Nations Secretary-General on 14 September. At its 74th session, held from 8 to 11 October 2013, the OPCW Executive Council noted the accession of the Syrian Arab Republic and urgently called upon all States not Party to the Convention to join without delay or precondition.”

The first group of OPCW experts arrived in Syria October 1, 2013. It included experts from Russia, the United States, the UK, Chez Republic, Uzbekistan, China, Canada, the Netherlands and Tunisia. The OPCW approved a 30-day plan on September 27 for the destruction of chemical weapons in Syria. Within 30 days, the experts will visit all locations of storage and production of chemical weapons in Syria and will also make efforts to visit all those sites which the member states of the OPCW may indicate later on. The plan provides for the completion of the destruction of industrial equipment at Syria’s chemical facilities by November 1, and the final liquidation of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles - by the middle of 2014. 

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