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MOSCOW, March 21. /ITAR-TASS/. There is no reason whatsoever to call into question the deadline for the complete elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons potential that expires by the end of the first half of this year, the information and press department of the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday.
“We are not inclined to dramatize the fact that the milestone for their removal, February 5 this year, was not met, as it was planned by the decision of the Executive Council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW),” the ministry said. “It can be explained by the objective security situation around chemical weapons storage facilities and on the route of convoys’ movement, as well as by problems related to the logistical support of the operation. However, there is no reason at all to call into question the deadline for the liquidation of the Syrian chemical weapons potential - the first half of the current year."
The Russian Foreign Ministry drew attention to the fact that “Syria is fulfilling its commitments under the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (Chemical Weapons Convention).” “The volume of the work Damascus has carried out in less than five months in the most difficult conditions of the internal conflict and with acute shortage at the initial period of material and financial resources, cannot be compared with the job done by other states, for example, Libya, in the sphere of chemical disarmament over a number of years,” the ministry emphasised.
Russia continues to play an important role in the international effort for the elimination of the Syrian chemical weapons potential, the ministry stated. The Russian side has made “a remarkably substantial contribution to the preparation and ensuring security of the transport operation to remove components of chemical weapons.” Thus, at the request of the Syrian side, Russia in a very short time made large-scale deliveries of special automobile transport and other materials and technical equipment for ensuring security of the land transportation of chemical agents. It made a contribution of two million US dollars to the UN’s Trust Fund for the elimination of Syrian chemical weapons. In addition, Russia's Foreign Ministry said, Russia together with China, Syria, Denmark and Norway is ensuring security of the sea stage of the removal of chemical weapons.