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Almost half of chemicals removed from Syria

March 20, 2014, 0:09 UTC+3 THE HAGUE
According to the OPCW, no chemical weapons will be left in Syria by April 27
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© AP Photo/Petros Karadjias

THE HAGUE, March 19, 23:08 /ITAR-TASS/. Almost a half of chemicals has been removed from Syria, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said on Wednesday, March 19.

The OPCW-U.N. Joint Mission confirmed the removal of two more consignments of chemicals from Syria on March 14 and 17, which brought the overall amount of chemical stockpile on board Norwegian and Danish freight ships to 45.6 percent.

The Mission verified that 29.5 percent of total Priority 1 chemicals and 82.6 percent of Priority 2 chemicals had been removed from Syria.

According to the OPCW, no chemical weapons will be left in Syria by April 27. They will be destroyed by Britain, Germany, the United States, and Finland.

The Syrian Government informed the Joint Mission of a revised plan for removing all relevant chemicals from its territory by April 27. The amended plan was considered by the OPCW Executive Council in The Hague in early March 7. Western countries were concerned that the delays would not allow Syria to destroy all of its chemical weapons by June 30, 2014 as was initially planned and it will need a delay of several months.

The removal of the most critical material for destruction began on January 7, 2014, a week after the deadline for its completion set by an agreement brokered by Russia and the United States under which Syria renounced its chemical weapons material and joined 1992 Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons.

The plan for destroying the Syrian chemical weapons outside the country, which was submitted to the Executive Council in late December 2013, aimed 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.

On November 15, 2013, 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.

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 30, 2014.

Syria renounced its chemical weapons material and joined 1992 Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons under an agreement brokered last year by Russia and the United States.

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