Syria misses second chemical weapons deadline

Ahmet Uzumcu, head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, speaks during an interview in Rome January 16, 2014. (Reuters)

Syria on Wednesday missed another deadline for the destruction of its chemical weapons stockpile, although the Syrian government still says it will meet a final deadline of June 30.

The United Nation’s Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons had set a timetable for the government to surrender its entire stockpile by Wednesday.

Syria announced plans to remove a large shipment of chemical weapons out of the country this month and is prepared to complete the removal process by March 1, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

“Literally yesterday the Syrian announced that the removal of a large shipment of chemical substances is planned in February.

They are ready to complete this process by March 1,” state-run Russia news agency RIA quoted Gatilov as saying.

The United States and Russia agreed last September to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons.

Last week, a U.S. diplomat said Syria had only removed 4 percent of its most toxic chemicals so far. All should have been removed by Dec. 31 under the framework.

Under a timeline drawn up last year, the most toxic chemicals in Syria’s 1,300-metric-ton stockpile were to be removed from the country by Dec. 31. The deadline was missed due to poor security in war-torn Syria, among other factors.

So far, just two small consignments of chemicals have been shipped out. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview with Fox News in September that it would cost about $1 billion to get rid of Syria's chemical weapons under the U.S.-Russian deal.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:42 - GMT 06:42
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