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April 27, 2014

Watchdog Seeks Destruction of Syria's Remaining CW Material

by VOA News

The international watchdog charged with helping Syria to get rid of its chemical weapons arsenal is calling on the government to hand over its remaining materials.
 
Sigrid Kaag, special coordinator of the joint mission of the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, told a news conference in Damascus Sunday that more than 92 percent of Syria's chemical weapons have been removed from the country or destroyed so far.
 
Kaag called for access to the remaining 7.8 percent of chemical weapons material being held at a particular site in Syria.
 
"I strongly encouraged the authorities to complete the job as soon as possible in the proximity, if I use the words of the Director-General Ahmed Uzumcu, in the proximity of Syria's own internal deadline of 27th of April, so the 30th of June deadline can be met," said Kaag 
 
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad agreed to destroy Syria's stockpile of chemical weapons under mounting international pressure following the deaths of hundreds of people in a sarin gas attack on the outskirts of Damascus last year.
 
Washington and its Western allies blamed Assad's forces for unleashing the nerve agent. The Syrian government blamed the rebels in Syria's civil war, which is now in its fourth year.
 
Meanwhile Sunday, Syrian state television says four more candidates have announced their bids in the June presidential election, bringing the number of declared contenders to six.
 
President Assad has suggested that he would seek a third term, but has not officially announced his candidacy.