THE HAGUE, September 27 (Itar-Tass) -The date of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Executive Council’s meeting on Syria will be announced shortly, the OPCW press service said.
Initially, the meeting was scheduled for September 22 but was postponed indefinitely. The Executive Council was supposed to consider ways to implement the Russian-American framework for the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons, which was reached by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva in early September.
At the end of last week, the OPCW confirmed that it had received full information regarding Syria’s chemical weapons.
The first information was submitted on Friday, September 20. “OPCW has confirmed that it has received the expected disclosure from the Syrian government regarding its chemical weapons programme. The Technical Secretariat is currently reviewing the information received,” the OPCW said.
The meeting of the OPCW Executive Council scheduled for September 22 has been postponed indefinitely. The new date will be announced later. The Council was supposed to map out ways to implement the framework for the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons, which was agreed by Russia and the United States in Geneva last week.
A preliminary plan calls for conducting the first inspections of the Syrian chemical weapons stockpiles by November and finishing their destruction in the first half of 2014.
The framework agreement on the elimination of chemical weapons in Syria, which was reached by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at their consultations in Geneva, lays out the principles for the decision document to be adopted by the OPCW Executive Council.
The decision should address the extraordinary character of the situation with the Syrian chemical weapons.
The decision should take into account the deposit by Syria of the instrument of accession to the CWC.
The decision should provide for the easy accessibility for States Parties of the information submitted by Syria.
The decision should specify which initial information Syria shall submit to the OPCW Technical Secretariat in accordance with a tightly fixed schedule and also specifies an early date for submission of the formal CWC declaration.
The decision should oblige Syria to cooperate fully on all aspects of its implementation.
The decision should address a schedule for the rapid destruction of Syrian chemical weapons capabilities. This schedule should take into account the following target dates:
- Completion of initial OPCW on-site inspections of declared sites by November.
- Destruction of production and mixing/filling equipment by November.
- Complete elimination of all chemical weapons material and equipment in the first half of 2014.
The shortest possible final deadline, as well as intermediate deadlines, for the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons capabilities should be included into the schedule.
- The decision should provide stringent special verification measures, beginning within a few days, including a mechanism to ensure the immediate and unfettered right to inspect any and all sites.
- The decision should address the issue of duties of the OPCW Technical Secretariat in this situation and its need for supplementary resources to implement the decision, particularly technical and personnel resources, and call upon states with relevant capacities to contribute to this end.
- The decision should refer to the provisions of the CWC obliging the Executive Council, in cases of non-compliance with the Convention, to bring the issues directly to the attention of the U.N. General Assembly and the U.N. Security Council.
The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) will enter into force for Syria on October 14 and the country will become the 190th Member State of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.