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article imageWatchdog says Syria is removing CW stockpile at 'increased pace'

By Paul Iddon     Mar 7, 2014 in Politics
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has declared in The Hague that Syria is removing its chemical weapons arsenal at an "increased pace."
As AFP points out in its report the OPCW has said in a statement that the removal of Syria's stockpile is "increasing pace."
The council, made up of some 41-countries, "positively noted" the progress regarding the elimination of Syria's chemical weapons program. Nevertheless it stressed that "delays . . . have occurred about which concerns were expressed."
As was reported by Reuters earlier this week Syria is set to miss a major deadline next week. That being the March 15 deadline to destroy twelve production facilities as part of the US-Russian brokered UN Security Council Resolution Syria agreed to abide by.
Reuters quoted an official involved in these discussions with Syria who said that the facilities in question include seven hardened aircraft hangers along with five other underground facilities, "None of them have been destroyed at the moment," according to this official.
Syria was also scheduled to have shipped out the most dangerous of its these chemicals (referred to as 'Category 1' chemicals) by December 31 along with its less dangerous Category 2 chemicals by February 5.
These deadly chemicals are being loaded onto Danish and Norwegian cargo ships at Syria's Latakia port where they are taken to an American ship named the MV Cape Ray to an Italian port where special machinery will neutralize them.
The Assad government has said that security issues among other things are what have resulted in delays but they are still nonetheless fully behind the process of disarmament.
With approximately 29% of Syria's chemicals removed and/or destroyed Sigrid Kaag, the Dutch diplomat leading this 41-country mission, was quoted by AP having told reporters that "in the next few days we expect [the percentage of Syria's chemical stockpile so far destroyed] to reach already 40 or 41 percent."
She also says that this March is a "critical month to look at continued progress towards the overall deadline," and believes despite delays and changes in plans that Syria if all goes well Syria should still "meet the overall deadline of June 30."
More about Chemical weapons, Syria, opcw
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