Dutch official Kaag confirmed as head of Syria chemical arms mission

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The United Nations named on Wednesday Dutch official Sigrid Kaag to lead the international mission in its process of eliminating Syria’s chemical arsenal.

Kaag will head a joint U.N.-Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons mission to destroy poison arms belonging to Damascus.

She is a U.N. assistant secretary general who speaks fluent Arabic and has wide Middle East experience.

“I am deeply honored and I am mostly humbled to be trusted with this very complex and challenging assignment,” Kaag told reporters in statements carried by Agence France-Presse.

Kaag said she would go to The Hague on Friday for meetings with OPCW leaders before heading to the new mission's base in Cyprus.

A team of 60 experts and support staff from the United Nations and OPCW are on a mission in Syria since the beginning of October, to carry out the terms of a U.N. Security Council resolution of destroying Syria’s chemical weapons.

The OPCW said earlier that its inspectors have checked 11 out of 20 sites identified by the government as chemical weapons facilities.

The chemical arms watchdog -- which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last week -- and Western governments are carrying out separate research into whether all facilities have been declared.

(With AFP)

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