Chemical watchdog to send second team of inspectors to Syria

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The international chemical weapons watchdog said Tuesday it will send a second team of inspectors to reinforce its mission to destroy Syria’s chemical arsenal.

“Current developments represent a constructive beginning but there is no doubt that it will be long and difficult,” Ahmet Uzumcu Director General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said, Al Arabiya correspondent reported.

The chemical watchdog has until mid-2014 to complete the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons under the terms of a U.N. Security Council resolution that followed a brokered U.S.-Russian deal.

The plan was launched after a chemical weapons attack near Damascus on August 21, in which hundreds - Washington claims around 1,400 - people died.

The Syrian government presented additional information on October, 4 and Syrian officials have started destroying the chemical arsenal on October 6, Uzumcu said, speaking at the opening session of the OPCW’s executive council.

A range of items was also being destroyed “towards the goal of rendering unusable all production facilities and mixing and filling equipment by 1 November of this year,” a statement released by the organization was quoted by Agence France-Presse.

Uzumcu also added that a deal providing for the U.N. to facilitate security and field logistics for the mission will be inked shortly, according to AFP.

Russia and the United States have reached a decision on how to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapon arsenal, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday after meeting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Reuters reported.

Putin also told Reuters that he believed the experts would be able to accomplish their goal within a year.

(With AFP and Reuters)

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