News / Middle East

Syria Takes First Step Toward Joining CW Treaty

Syrian U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari shows a document to reporters at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, Sept. 12, 2013.
Syrian U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari shows a document to reporters at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, Sept. 12, 2013.
Margaret Besheer
Syria has taken its first step toward joining an international treaty banning the production and use of chemical weapons.

U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters the U.N. received a document Thursday from the Syrian government that concerns its accession to the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention.

“There is a process to be followed to join the Chemical Weapons Convention treaty and this is a step towards that," said Haq.

Haq said the United Nations is translating and reviewing the document.

The Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993 prohibits the development, production, acquisition and use of chemical weapons by signatories. Only seven countries, including Syria, have until now not ratified this treaty.

This week, Syria confirmed long-held international suspicions that it possesses chemical weapons.

Some published reports say the government of President Bashar al-Assad has more than 1,000 tons of the chemical agents sarin, VX and mustard gas.

Syria’s U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari told reporters they have placed this instrument of accession with the U.N. secretary-general, who is the depository for the treaty.

“With this, the chapter of the so-called chemical weapons should be ended. And legally speaking, Syria has become - starting today - a full member of the convention," said  Ja’afari.

But experts say this is only a first step.

Acceding to the treaty will commit the Syrian government to quickly declare its chemical weapons stockpiles and production facilities. Then, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons - which is the implementing authority for the convention - will need to verify these claims through on-site inspections.

Finally, Article 19 of the Treaty says the Convention is subject to ratification by states that are signatories according to their respective constitutional processes.

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by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
September 12, 2013 9:18 PM
After the US threatened missile attack at Syria, Assad has finally signed the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993, leaving six other countries left to sign the protocol. But signing is only a first step for Assad. He has to surrender all the chemical weapons and the ingredients to international custody and unhindered UN inspection. Removal of the chemicals is dangerous. The best way is to implement the protocol is for Assad to assemble all the chemical weapons at on place. A plant is to be constructed to safely destroy the chemical weapons and it will necessitate thousands of people employed under the supervision of the UN. How it can be accomplished by Assad/UN in a country with civil war. So the chemical weapons will remain inside Syria for a long time to come. Just signing the Convention will not absolve Assad the crime committed to the Syrians, just like a gunmen returning a gun to police after killing people. Assad has to be punished for the crimes he already committed. Is Obama bold enough to punish Assad as Obama declared? Can Assad be cited by the International Court of Justice for crimes against humanity? Putin of Russia has more interest in avoiding missile strike at Assad regime to protect the Russian naval base at Tartar in the Mediterranean coast of Syria by keeping Assad in power. The aggressive announcements of Obama is tamed by Putin's fast action while Obama is quibbling for more than two years for any action in Syria.

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