More chemical weapons materials leave Syria: joint inspection mission

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UNITED NATIONS: The second batch of chemical weapons materials was loaded onto ships on Monday and transported out of Syria for destruction following the first consignment on Jan. 7, a UN spokesman said, quoting a report by the joint mission of the chemical weapons watchdog and the United Nations.

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“The Joint Mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the United Nations says that a further shipment of chemical weapons materials from Syria has taken place today,” acting UN deputy spokesman, Farhan Haq, said at a daily news briefing here.

“The chemical weapons were verified by Joint Mission personnel before being loaded in Latakia port onto Danish and Norwegian cargo vessels for onward transportation,” he said.

However, the joint mission did not say how much of the chemical weapons materials was loaded onto the vessels.

“The vessels were accompanied by a naval escort provided by the People’s Republic of China, Denmark, Norway and the Russian Federation,” he said.

“The Joint Mission looks forward to the Syrian Arab Republic continuing its efforts to complete the removal of its chemical weapons materials in a safe, secure and timely manner,” Haq said.

In September, the UN Security Council endorsed the expeditious destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons in the unanimously adopted resolution 2118, under which the OPCW is mandated to oversee the elimination.

The OPCW-UN Joint Mission was formally established on Oct. 16 to achieve a timely removal in the safest and most secure manner possible. According to the OPCW, the deadline for elimination is June 30, 2014. The chemical materials in Syria are set to be shipped outside the country via its coastal city of Latakia to be destroyed on a ship at sea.

Denmark and Norway agreed on Dec. 6 to jointly transport chemical materials out of Syria under a UN request to provide protection and transport.

The Joint Mission said on Dec. 28 that the transportation of the most critical chemical material out of Syria before the deadline of Dec. 31, 2013 was unlikely due to volatility in overall security conditions in Syria. PNA

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