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Expert: UN 'yes' on Syrian bid for new weapons deadline 'election boost for Assad'

February 21, 2014, 16:44 UTC+3 MOSCOW
To date, only 11% of poisonous agents had been removed from Syria
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MOSCOW, February 21. /ITAR-TASS/. An extended deadline sought by Syria to destroy its chemical weapons stocks gives advantage to President Bashar Assad in the run up to the presidential election in July, director of the Center for Social and Political Studies and expert on weapons of mass destruction Vladimir Yevseyev told Itar-Tass.

Infographics Syrian chemical weapons Syrian chemical weapons
Details on Syrian chemical weapons arsenal. ITAR-TASS Infographics
Syria could miss UN-backed June 30 deadline to destroy its arsenal, he said, noting: “From the very beginning, this deadline has been tough, taking into account the large stockpiles. Moreover, opposition units hamper the shipment of toxic agents and even weather conditions slow the process.”

United Nations agreement to extend the deadline for the weapons' destruction would benefit the Syrian president ahead of the presidential race, in which Assad planned to run, Yevseyev said.

UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Angela Kane said on Thursday that Syrian authorities, together with the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, had been working to extend the deadline to destroy the most dangerous weapons. To date, only 11% of poisonous agents had been removed from Syria.

The executive council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons meets on Friday to discuss the timescale for the weapons to be destroyed.

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