THE HAGUE, January 20, 23:21 /ITAR-TASS/. A Russian company is bidding in a tender for the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said on Monday, January 20.
There are 14 companies on the list announced by the Organisation, including Russia’s Vector.
The Russian Permanent Mission to the OPCW made no comment, saying only that the company had “acted entirely on its own.”
The name of the company is Vector, that’s all we know,” Vasily Titushkin, deputy head of the Russian permanent representative to the OPCW, told ITAR-TASS.
A total of 14 private firms have submitted tenders to destroy 500 metric tonnes of Syria’s commodity chemicals, as well as effluent from the neutralisation of its Priority chemicals, at commercial facilities outside of the Syrian Arab Republic.
The tenders were opened in a public event at the Organisation’s Headquarters in The Hague on January 20, which was attended by representatives of private firms that submitted tenders and by interested OPCW delegations. They were received in response to a “Call for Proposals for Transport, Treatment and Disposal of Hazardous and Non-Hazardous Organic and Inorganic Chemicals, Effluents and Related Materials”, as advertised on the OPCW Internet website. The deadline for submitting tenders was Sunday, January 19, 2014.
The OPCW will now conduct technical and commercial evaluation of the bids and announce the winner(s) in early February.
The OPCW Executive Council in its report has noted “that, notwithstanding the technical difficulties resulting in delays, the transportation of priority chemicals began on January 7.
The chemicals were transported from two sites and loaded onto a Danish vessel which left the port of Latakia. The operation was assisted and verified by the OPCW-U.N. Joint Mission in Syria.
“This is an important step commencing the transportation of these materials as part of the plan to complete their disposal outside the territory of Syria,” OPCW Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu said.
The plan for destroying the Syrian chemical weapons outside of the country, which was submitted to the Executive Council in late December 2013, aims to meet a deadline set by the Council to destroy Syria’s priority chemicals by March 31, 2014 and other mostly commodity chemicals by June 30, 2014.
The plan includes provisions for ensuring clear responsibility at each stage for all chemicals and takes into account all relevant consideration, including target dates, requirements for safety and security, and overall costs.
Uzumcu confirmed that “the major elements of a transportation and destruction plan are in place” and that the mission in Syria “is making progress against heavy odds,” including a “massive procurement effort” that has gone into the collection and delivery to Syria of materials and equipment. He credited OPCW States Parties for offering transport, destruction facilities and other material assistance, and for making important financial contributions to the Special Trust Fund.
On November 15, 2012, the OPCW Executive Council (EC) approved a detailed plan of destruction to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile. In the plan, Syrian chemical weapons will be transported for destruction outside its territory to ensure their destruction in the “safest and soonest manner”, and no later than June 30, 2014.
The EC’s decision distinguishes between destruction actions “in the Syrian Arab Republic” and destruction activities “outside the territory” of Syria and stipulates intermediate destruction milestones leading to the complete elimination of its chemical weapons programme.
The plan envisions the removal of all declared chemical substances and precursors, except for isopropanol, from Syria no later than February 5, 2014 with the “most critical” chemicals to be transported out of Syria by December 31, 2013. However this was not done because of logistical problems, bad weather and continuing fighting in the parts of Syria where chemical weapons are stored.
Syrian declared chemical weapons facilities will undergo sequenced destruction from December 15, 2013 to March 15, 2014 according to a risk-based criterion.
Under Security Council Resolution 2118 (2013) and decisions of the OPCW Executive Council, Syria’s entire chemical weapons programme is to be destroyed by June 20, 2014.