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MOSCOW, February 01, 13:40 /ITAR-TASS/. By now, only a small part of chemical weapon components has been taken from Syria, though initially the export of the entire arsenal was due by February 5, head of the security and disarmament department at Russia’s foreign ministry, Mikhail Ulyanov, told Itar-Tass on Saturday.
“As yet, we are speaking about two small shipments,” he said. “The chemical substances were uploaded to Danish and Norwegian container vessels, which immediately left from Latakia port to the open sea. They do not have as yet a place to where the cargo could be reloaded. The time of arrival of the US Cape Ray, where the initial processing will be organised, are being postponed all the time. We have information the Americans are due to come to the Italian shore in about ten days.”
At the same time, the diplomat stressed there were no reasons to dramatise the situation. The delay is for objective reasons caused by a very complicated security situation and lack of equipment to transport the chemicals across the Syrian territory.
As yet, there is no information regarding vessels or aircrafts, which the extremists might use to attack the container vessels in the open sea.
“And still, theoretically, we should not rule it out, as those civil vessels are escorted by combat ships. In the Syrian territory waters, for example, this task is settled by Russia’s heavy nuclear missile cruiser - The Petr Velikiy.”
“Generally speaking, the situation with shipment of the Syrian chemical weapons is not simple. Our western counterparts are on the edge of tolerance as the due timing is not observed. Unfortunately, the quality of the preplanning turned out to be not high enough. And, on the other hand, it is not easy to speed up the process, as the chemical weapon is to be taken from the country at war, where armed extremists and terrorists remain very active.”
The Syrian side is responsible for shipments, and thus Syrians should decide how and when to organise shipments depending on the situations and under the condition of maximum safety for the convoys, in order to exclude a situation, where the arms get into improper hands, the diplomat said.