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Syria chemical weapons watchdog sends second team to Damascus

By Supriya Jha | Last Updated: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 - 10:46

Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha

Damascus: To expedite the chemical disarmament mission in Syria, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is sending a second team of experts to Damascus on Wednesday.

A statement by the chemical watchdog OCPW said, "That will augment the advance team of OPCW experts, who have been in Syria since 1 October conducting verification and destruction activities”.

The second team of experts is being sent to Syria a day after the UN Chief Ban Ki-moon yesterday proposed the formation of a 100-dtrong team with members from the UN, to complete the mission by mid-2014.

The OPCW is entitled with the task of overseeing the entire chemical arms dismantling process by mid of next year.

The first phase has already begun, which will see destruction of “all production facilities and mixing and filling equipment by 1st November”, said the chemical watchdog OCPW Director General Ahmet Uzumcu at a meeting of its Executive Council.

"These developments present a constructive beginning for what will nonetheless be a long and difficult process," Uzumcu said.

Speaking at the meeting, Uzumcu also confirmed Syrian compliance as done earlier by US John Kerry and Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Uzumcu is expected to hold a press conference near OPCW headquarters in The Hague today.

Uzumcu also said that a deal will be signed shortly which will stipulate UN’s role in the entire process.

Yesterday, stating his strategy on the joint mission to destroy Syria chemical weapons, the UN Chief proposed that the 100 experts from the UN and OCPW will be in Syria for a year. The UN members will be responsible for supervising security, logistics, communications and coordination with the Syrian government whereas the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons will tackle the technical aspects of the process, including verification and inspections.

The mission to destroy Syria chemical stockpile is being implemented according to a joint US-Russia plan which proposed that Syria must allow the international experts to access all the storage and production sites of chemical weapons and comply with the plan so that by mid-2014, the destruction process ends successfully.

First Published: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 - 09:55
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