has relinquished about a third of its chemical weapons: OPCW
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[March 04, 2014]
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) — Syria has
shipped out about a third of its chemical weapons stockpile, including
mustard gas, for destruction abroad, the global chemical arms watchdog
said on Tuesday.
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The
Hague said Damascus had now handed over six consignments of the
toxic agents it declared to the OPCW as part of a Russian-U.S. deal
struck last year.
The OPCW said it had confirmed two more shipments headed for the
northern Syrian port of Latakia. They are to be transferred to the
U.S. ship MV Cape Ray and commercial destruction facilities in the
United Kingdom and Germany.
Syria had also submitted a revised plan to remove all chemicals from
its territory by the end of April 2014, the OPCW said. That proposal
was being negotiated at an executive council meeting at the OPCW
that began Tuesday morning.
But Western diplomats said the revised timetable was too slow for
several Western countries, which say the chemical agents must be
shipped out by the end of March if a final June 30 deadline agreed
for complete destruction of Syria's chemical weapons program is to
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The United States said it needs 90 days to destroy roughly 500
metric tons of the most poisonous substances in the arsenal of
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Syria declared a total of 1,300
metric tons of chemical weapons to the OPCW, the Nobel Peace prize
winning body that is jointly overseeing the destruction process with
the United Nations.
(Reporting by Anthony Deutsch; editing by Mark Heinrich)
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