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UNITED NATIONS, September 05 /ITAR-TASS/. The last remaining chemical weapons facilities in Syria will be destroyed by the end of March 2015, a U.N. envoy said on Thursday.
Sigrid Kaag, the Special Coordinator for the Joint Mission of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Nations (OPCW-UN), told the U.N. Security Council that 96% of Syria’s declared stockpile, including the most dangerous chemicals, had been destroyed and preparation were underway to destroy the remaining 12 production facilities.
Starting October 1, the OPCW will be in the lead - in partnership with the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNPOS) to begin destroying the 12 remaining chemical weapons facilities - seven so-called hangars and five tunnels.
“All in all, the joint mission has achieved its objectives, has assisted the authorities in Damascus to achieve their goals as a State party, but the residual activities that remain of course are also of importance and interest to the [Security] Council so they have been asked to be briefed on a regular basis as before for a foreseeable period,” Kaag said.
OPCW Secretary-General Ahmet Uzumcu earlier described the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons as “a major landmark”.
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.
Under Security Council Resolution 2118 (2013) and decisions of the OPCW Executive Council, Syria’s entire chemical weapons programme was to be destroyed by June 30, 2014.
About 1,200 tonnes of toxic chemicals were removed from the country and over 100 tonnes were eliminated in the country by agreement with the OPCW.
The removal of the most critical material for destruction began in early January, in line with an agreement brokered by Russia and the United States, by 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 Joint Mission said.