Complete chemicals removal in Syria not likely before end of June
The amount of chemicals that have reached a Syrian port in Latakia so far is “not that high,” according to the OPCW
The most dangerous agents in Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal initially planned to be destructed in March may not be completed until the end of June, Reuters reported the head of the world’s chemical weapons watchdog as saying on Thursday.
The amount of chemicals that have reached a Syrian port in Latakia so far is “not that high,” Ahmet Uzumcu, the head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said in a briefing with reporters in Rome.
OPCW is in a joint mission with the United Nations to dismantle Syria’s chemical arsenal.
The watchdog met with Syrian officials in The Hague on Wednesday to discuss the delays, Uzumcu said without giving further details.
But he said additional measures are being taken.
“We hope we can move relatively quickly in the coming weeks” he said.
“I am still confident that we can meet this deadline of the end of June ... We will do our best to meet this deadline.”
The deadline initially set for only the destruction the less dangerous “commodity” chemicals.
In the briefing, Uzumcu also said that more than 16 tons of the total of 560 tons of the “primary” chemicals had so far been shifted to a Danish vessel in the Syrian port Latakia.
The ship is now waiting in international waters offshore for more shipments.
Uzumcu is in Italy to address parliament about the transfer of the primary agents at an Italian port from the Danish vessel to an American one, where they will be destroyed at sea.