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Over Half of Syria’s Chemical Weapons Removed or Destroyed

Over Half of Syria’s Chemical Weapons Removed or Destroyed, Says Joint OPCW-UN Mission

New York, Mar 20 2014 - The Joint Mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the United Nations said today that over half of Syria’s chemical weapons material has been removed or destroyed.

As of today, some 53.6 per cent of Syria’s chemical weapons material has been removed from or destroyed in the conflict-ridden country. The deadline for completing the destruction of Syria’s entire chemical weapons programme is 30 June 2014.

“This represents important progress,” said OPCW-UN Joint Mission Special Coordinator Sigrid Kaag, as she made the announcement.

“The Joint Mission welcomes the momentum attained, and encourages the Syrian Arab Republic to sustain the current pace.”

A total of 11 consignments of chemicals have now been transported out of Syria for destruction, according to a news release issued by the OPCW. When all of the Syrian chemicals from all storage sites have been loaded aboard Danish and Norwegian cargo ships, they will be transported to various locations for destruction under the verification of OPCW inspectors.

OPCW added that as the removal process continues, a team of experts is currently in Syria to facilitate the formulation of a plan to destroy certain structures that housed Syria’s chemical weapons production facilities.

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 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.

For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

ENDS

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