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US says Syria failed to meet deadline for chemical weapons removal

WASHINGTON, April 29. /ITAR-TASS/. Syria has failed to meet the deadline set for the removal of all chemical weapons and the United States along with its international partners will continue pressing the Syrian regime to implement undertaken obligations, a spokeswoman for the US Department of State said.

“Syria has failed to meet the April 27 target date for the removal of all chemical weapons materials, one that it set for itself, just as it failed during the past three months to meet the milestones set by the OPCW [the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons] for chemical weapons removal,” Jen Psaki told a daily news briefing.

“As of last week, approximately 92% of declared chemicals have been removed. While that is significant progress, we’re not finished. There is more work, clearly, that needs to be done,” she said.

Psaki added that Syria must observe its undertaken obligations and there must be no further delays in the chemical weapons removal from that country.

“With our international partners, we’re going to continue to press the regime to live up to its obligations, including by removing the remaining 8% Syria has an obligation to complete packing and preparations at the remaining site and transfer those materials to Latakia. They have the capability to do this, and there should be no further delay,” she said.

An international deal to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons, mediated in September of 2013, prevented a likely US-led military intervention in the Middle East country, where, according to UN estimations, fighting between Syrian government troops and rebels has left over 100,000 people dead and displaced millions since 2011.

The process of disarmament in Syria was launched after hundreds of civilians died in a chemical attack made on a Damascus suburb in August 2013. Syria’s chemical weapons are to be destroyed by June 30, 2014.

Work on chemical disarmament of the Syrian Arab Republic was briefly suspended on March 20 due to clashes between Syrian government forces and militants near Latakia.

An international peace conference on Syria, dubbed Geneva-2, organized by Russia and the United States, kicked off on January 22 in Montreux, Switzerland. The conference, designed to negotiate a solution to the Syrian crisis, brought no particular progress after two rounds in January and February 2014.

The parties to the Syrian conflict agreed to continue their discussions.