News / Middle East

UN Calls for Syria to Complete Surrender of Chemical Weapons

UN Calls for Syria to Complete Surrender of Chemical Weaponsi
X
May 09, 2014 4:06 AM
The United Nations has called on Syria to complete the surrender of its chemical weapons by the approaching deadline. The well-armed forces of President Bashar al-Assad appear to be gaining ground in the Syrian civil war, which has claimed an estimated 150,000 lives and has divided the country. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Zlatica Hoke
The United Nations has called on Syria to complete the surrender of its chemical weapons by the approaching deadline. The well-armed forces of President Bashar al-Assad appear to be gaining ground in the Syrian civil war, which has claimed an estimated 150,000 lives and has divided the country. The United States has promised to increase its non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition, but a growing number of U.S. lawmakers say this is not enough to even the odds in the deadly conflict.
 
Sigrid Kaag, mission chief of the U.N.'s Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, said Thursday in New York that the bulk of Syria's chemical weapons have been removed for destruction, but that 8 percent remain in the government's possession.
 
"In terms of chemical weapons removal for onward destruction, including destruction in country, we've reached significant progress -- 92 percent. However, there is concern, and that we have also expressed as a joint mission, that the remaining 8 percent is currently inaccessible due to the security conditions in country," said Kaag.
 
Kaag urged Syrian authorities to allow safe access to the remaining chemical weapons material by the June 30 deadline.
 
"The ships are waiting. Our Norwegian and Danish friends, they are waiting. They want to take the last batch of the chemical weapons materials. And the U.S. ship, of course, is very eager to start destruction. Because the clock is ticking," said Kaag.  
 
In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Syrian Opposition Coalition President Ahmad al-Jarba. 
 
“We have taken several steps this week to demonstrate our growing partnership with the coalition, and I look forward today to continuing our dialogue on a full range of our shared concerns in Syria, including putting an end to the violence, countering the regime, easing the humanitarian crisis and building towards the day when we will see a truly representative government that is responsive to the needs of the Syrian people,” said Kerry.
 
Jarba asked for more U.S. support in the uneven struggle between well-armed government forces and inadequately equipped opposition fighters.
 
"The Syrian people are looking to the superpower, the country that plays a leading role in the world, and we look forward to working with you now and in the future. Our goal is to establish a pluralistic civil society.... A state that is just, where all minorities live side-by-side with the majority," said Jarba.
 
The United States plans a $27 million increase in non-lethal assistance to the opposition, but says it will not provide arms or other military support. However, Jarba got a more sympathetic ear from some U.S. lawmakers. Democratic Senator Bob Casey said he has written to President Barack Obama on behalf of Syria's moderate opposition.
 
"I asked that the president seriously consider allowing the deployment of lethal assistance to the moderate military opposition. A serious effort to help narrow the gulf between the moderate opposition and the better trained and better equipped extremist fighters would not only boost morale in the Free Syria Army, but could actually change the momentum of the battle," said Casey.
 
President Assad has set June 3 for Syria's presidential elections, despite the ongoing fighting and the absence of millions of Syrians who have fled the conflict.

You May Like

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

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