• Chemical watchdog urges truces so Syria can disarm


    THE HAGUE: The world’s chemical weapons watchdog has called for temporary truces to meet tight disarmament deadlines in Syria, where fresh bloodshed served as a deadly reminder of the mission’s difficulties.

    “I think if some temporary ceasefires can be established, I think those targets could be reached,” Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons chief Ahmet Uzumcu told journalists in The Hague.

    The OPCW has been charged with dismantling Syria’s chemical arsenal and facilities by mid-2014 under the terms of a United Nations Security Council resolution drawn up after deadly nerve gas attacks in August.

    Uzumcu said during a rare public briefing on the state of Syria’s disarmament that the timeline “is extremely tight,” with 20 sites to be visited in the coming weeks.

    He denied however that the deadlines, including the destruction of all production facilities by November 1, were unrealistic.

    “Much depends on the situation on the ground, that’s why we have urged all parties in Syria to be cooperative,” Uzumcu said.

    “The elimination is in the interest of all.”

    The OPCW said on Tuesday it was sending a second wave of inspectors to bolster the disarmament mission in the war-ravaged nation. Uzumcu said that another 12 experts were being sent to Damascus.



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