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

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
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.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid