Syria provides further details of chemical program: OPCW
OPCW team indicates positive over Syrian govt co-operation
The Hague: The international chemical warfare watchdog charged with destroying Syria’s arsenal today said Damascus had provided “additional information” about its chemical weapons program, complying with its obligations under a UN resolution.
Director general Ahmet Uzumcu of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said that the new submission was “additional to the disclosure” made by the Syrian regime on September 21.
The announcement came during a meeting of the OPCW’s 41-member Executive Council yesterday, The Hague-based body said in a statement. According to UN Security Council Resolution 2118, adopted a week ago, Damascus had seven days after its approval to provide further details about its chemical stockpile including information on chemical weapons precursors and toxins, as well as quantities. “The additional submission is being reviewed by the OPCW,” the statement said, adding that Uzumcu would update UN-backed body’s member states on Tuesday.
Meanwhile in Damascus, international inspectors were today gearing up to disable Syria’s chemical weapons program. The OPCW team of inspectors and the United Nations have been tasked with implementing the resolution to destroy the banned arsenal by mid-2014.
The inspectors arrived in Syria on Tuesday, and reported “encouraging initial progress” after a day of meetings with the authorities yesterday. The team said it hoped to begin on-site inspections and the initial disabling of equipment “within the next week”.
UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said that the inspectors on the ground had praised Syria’s cooperation. “They have said that the cooperation from the Syrian side has been good,” he told reporters in New York. “They have received technical diagrams, other information, which of course they are studying.” The 19-member OPCW team faces a daunting task, as Syria is understood to have more than 1,000 tonnes of the nerve agent sarin, mustard gas and other banned arms at dozens of sites. Both President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and its armed opponents have been accused of carrying out numerous atrocities in the 30 month long conflict, which began as a popular uprising and has since snowballed into a full-blown war that has killed