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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid