News / Middle East

Syria Submits New Plan for Chemical Arms Removal

FILE - OPCW Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu attends press conference, Rome, Jan. 16, 2014.
FILE - OPCW Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu attends press conference, Rome, Jan. 16, 2014.
Reuters
— Syria has submitted a new 100-day plan for the removal of its chemical weapons after failing to meet a Feb. 5 deadline, but the international mission overseeing the operation believes it can be done in a shorter time frame, diplomats said on Friday.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons executive committee met on Friday in The Hague to discuss the joint OPCW and U.N. mission amid growing international frustration at Syria falling behind on its commitments.

Syria failed to meet an OPCW deadline of Feb. 5 to move all of its declared chemical substances and precursors out of the country. The final deadline under the OPCW plan is for all of Syria's declared chemical materials to be destroyed by June 30.

"The Syrian 100 day plan for removal of the chemicals, on which we have been briefed, is not adequate," Philip Hall, head of the British Foreign Office Counter Proliferation Department, told the OPCW, according to a copy of statement.

"We now urge the Syrian authorities to accept the proposals submitted by the Operational Planning Group that provide for removal in a much shorter time frame, without compromising on security," he said.

A senior U.N. diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the international mission believes the operation can be carried out before the end of March, adding that Syria's proposed end-May deadline would not leave enough time for the chemicals to be destroyed before the end of June.

The OPCW declined to comment on Syria's proposal.

The United States has sent the MV Cape Ray, a ship outfitted with special equipment to neutralize the worst of Syria's chemicals at sea, and says it will need 90 days to complete the destruction.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad agreed to destroy his chemical weapons following global outrage over a sarin gas attack in August, the world's deadliest chemical attack in 25 years. That attack sparked a U.S. threat of military strikes, which was averted by Assad's pledge to give up chemical arms.

'Delays not insurmountable'

U.N. disarmament chief Angela Kane said on Thursday in New York that any new plan would need to be endorsed by the OPCW and the U.N. Security Council.

The deal for Syria to give up its chemical weapons, brokered by the United States and Russia, was enshrined in a U.N. Security Council resolution in September.

The resolution does not allow for automatic punitive action in the form of military strikes or sanctions if Syria does not comply. At Russia's insistence, the resolution makes clear a second council decision would be needed for that.

Russia has made clear, however, it would not support the use of force against Assad's government, a close ally.

So far Syria has relinquished only 11 percent of its declared 1,300 tons of chemical weapons, sources told Reuters last week. The worst chemicals, of which only 5 percent have been removed, are supposed to be destroyed by the end of March and the rest of the toxins by the end of June.

Sigrid Kaag, head of the international mission, said earlier this month that she did not believe the Syrian government was intentionally delaying the removal of its arsenal, but that accelerated cooperation was vital to meet the mid-year deadline.

"Intermediate milestones ideally should have been met, they have not been met, there are delays," she said. "Delays are not insurmountable. Delays have a reason, there's a rationale, there's a context."

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a report last month that Syria has enough equipment to transfer the chemicals out of the country. Syria has blamed the delays on security concerns, a lack of equipment and the weather.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
February 21, 2014 5:18 PM
What a disgusting disgrace bashar al assad is to the entire world. A criminal for one, responsible for killing more women and children than anyone in Syria. He has to "haggle" with the UN to allow aid in to help Syrians, this is a crime in itself, and inhumane. Bashar al assad should of settled with the people like happened just recently in the Ukraine. Instead he will go down as the biggest criminal in Syrian history books. Assad will in the end be facing the law whether he believes it or not. Murder is a serious crime in any country, and he should be punished by the Syrian laws.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid