Thursday, February 27, 2014

Syria: Joint UN-OPCW mission welcomes mustard gas shipment out of Syria as ‘important step’

Special Coordinator of the OPCW-UN Joint Mission on Syria Sigrid Kaag. Photo: OPCW

26 February 2014 – The Joint Mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the United Nations confirmed today that a shipment of Syria’s stockpile of sulphur mustard, commonly known as “mustard gas,” has left its territory.

Sigrid Kaag, the Special Coordinator of the Joint Mission, welcomed the shipment as an “important step” in the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons programme.

“The Joint Mission looks forward to the Syrian Arab Republic continuing its efforts to complete the removal of the remaining chemical materials in a safe, secure and timely manner, through systematic, predictable and high-volume movements,” she added in a statement.

The Joint Mission encouraged Syria to maintain momentum in implementing the relevant resolution of the UN Security Council and the decisions of the OPCW Executive Council to rid the country of its chemical weapons programme.

According to the plan approved by the OPCW, Syria’s chemical weapons will be transported outside its territory to ensure their destruction in the “safest and soonest manner,” and no later than 30 June 2014. The Joint Mission was set up to oversee the country’s compliance with its obligations.
Syria renounced its chemical weapons material and joined 1992 Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons under an agreement brokered last year by Russia and the United States.