News / Middle East

Locations Mulled for Destruction of Syria’s Chemical Weapons

Sigrid Kaag, the head of the U.N. team charged with destroying Syria's chemical weapons, speaks with reporters in front of the Four Seasons hotel in Damascus, Syria, Oct. 22, 2013.
Sigrid Kaag, the head of the U.N. team charged with destroying Syria's chemical weapons, speaks with reporters in front of the Four Seasons hotel in Damascus, Syria, Oct. 22, 2013.
Margaret Besheer
The Special Coordinator for the Joint OPCW-UN Mission charged with eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons said she expects to know by November 15 where Syria’s chemical weapons will be destroyed. 

Sigrid Kaag said Tuesday there were on-going discussions and negotiations this week at The Hague about where the actual destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons would take place.

“Planning teams for the Syrian authorities, U.N. and OPCW experts are convening to look at the details and the best possible options, of course I presume, will be decided upon, and it will be known by the 15th of November,” said Kaag.

Earlier Tuesday, Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Director General Ahmet Üzümcü said the most viable alternative for destroying Syria’s chemical arsenal would be outside the country, due to the on-going armed conflict within its borders.

Kaag spoke to reporters after a private briefing to the U.N. Security Council.  She said after the joint mission’s first full month of work there has been progress under difficult circumstances.

Kaag said that 21 of 23 sites have been visited.  The two sites that have not were due to security concerns.  Kaag said the mission intended to visit them in the future, if the situation on the ground allowed.

U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power cautiously welcomed progress on the destruction of specialized equipment used for chemical weapons production, mixing and filling, saying the burden was on the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to fulfill all of its obligations to fully and verifiably eliminate their chemical weapons program.

“There is nothing yet to celebrate, but it is significant that we have made significant progress toward taking away a potent weapon of war and terror from Assad and his forces,” said the ambassador.

She said the elimination of chemical weapons was not a substitute for ending the violence that has consumed Syria and she urged the immediate expansion of critical humanitarian aid to the country. 

The United Nations warned Monday the humanitarian situation was deteriorating rapidly, with 9.3 million Syrians now in need of assistance.  Of them, 6.5 million are displaced from their homes, inside the country.

Russia’s U.N. Ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, welcomed news of the Syrian authorities’ cooperation with the joint mission.  Asked about the humanitarian crisis, he said the situation would continue to be difficult as long as the conflict went on and this is why efforts needed to be intensified to get the parties to the negotiating table in Geneva.

In Geneva, U.N.-Arab League Syria Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi told a news conference that he hopes peace talks between the government and opposition could still take place before the end of the year.

Originally, the United Nations had been aiming for late November, but the envoy laid out his revised hopes after meeting with U.S. and Russian officials, as well as with diplomats from the other three permanent Security Council members.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: chukwuemeka Ukor from: lagos,Nigeria
November 06, 2013 3:40 AM
I maintain that assad must go or he conducts a genuine election.syria is not his father's property.searching where he godrà his chemical weapons is not an issue.if he forza not want to comply on all around then he must be remove by allied forces.i just dont know what is wrong with all these people.let me test my case for now.thanks.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid