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OPCW: Instability in Syria hampers withdrawal of chemical weapons from country

November 28, 2013, 10:51 UTC+3 THE HAGUE

One more problem is that it is unclear how and where chemical toxic agents will be destroyed

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THE HAGUE, November 28. /ITAR-TASS/. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) voiced concerns on Wednesday over the difficulties in the implementation of the program for the withdrawal of the chemical weapons from Syria that arise over the unstable security situation in the country.

One more problem is that it is unclear how and where chemical toxic agents will be destroyed. The point is that a large part of Syrian chemical weapons belongs to the category of industrial chemicals, which can be destroyed by private companies. The OPCW has announced a tender for participation in a specific contest for chemical weapons’ destruction in the previous week, and the application of bids will be already over on November 29. It is still unclear, which companies will offer their services and whether someone did it at all. OPCW Secretary General Ahmet Uzumcu urged the OPCW member-countries to support the companies, which meet all the requirements, in these countries to participate in this process. As for the most dangerous highly toxic agents, which should be destroyed under state control, he noted that the countries, which have some capacities to destroy these chemical agents, can and should play their role.

According to available reports, a large part of containers and other accessories, which are needed for safe packing of Syrian chemical weapons, have already been brought to Lebanon. Now it is being decided to deliver them in Damascus, after that they will be distributed in different cities, OPCW said. At the same time the checks of the process to destroy the chemical weapons in Syria continue. For this purpose the number of the OPCW inspectors will be increased soon, because their activity spreads on a growing number of chemical facilities.

By December 17 the OPCW should develop a detailed plan to destroy chemical stockpiles outside Syria. According to the OPCW decision, all chemical weapons should be taken away from Syria before February 5, 2014. The plan should put it clearly which party and at which stage takes responsibility for the destruction of chemical weapons, particularly with due account of the cost, the need to meet the deadlines and observe all security measures.

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