The joint mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Nations tasked with dismantling chemical weapons in Syria said that it made significant progress in its work.
The mission, which has been working in Syria for three months, said in a joint statement published on Saturday that it's currently verifying that materials used in chemical weapons are removed for Syria.
The statement pointed out that since Syria revealed its chemical weapons program three months ago, it began dismantling equipment and facilities used for manufacturing chemical weapons, and that the Syrian government finished disposing of all unloaded chemical munitions well before the timetable set by the OPCW Executive Council.
The statement said that preparations are underway for transporting the most hazardous chemical materials outside Syria for disposal abroad, noting that the likelihood of doing so before December 31st is slim, saying a number of external factors such as the overall security situation affected timetables, in addition to logistic challenges and bad weather, adding that Syria also made certain demands in terms of packing and transporting chemical materials.
The mission said that member countries made purchases to provide the packing materials requested by Syria, and that the preparation of materials for transport is progressing well, particularly regarding needed supplies and transport equipment, in addition to providing resources for marine transport and disposal.
The statement noted that a number of countries have had positive contributions to meeting the Syrian government's requests for assistance, saying that the final responsibility for securing the safe packing, transport and disposal of materials and facilitating the disposal process of remaining chemical weapons lies on the Syrian government.
The mission stressed the need to maintain the positive momentum in the ongoing disposal process, saying that Syria needs to increase efforts to ensure that it fulfills its obligations as per the Chemical Weapons Convention, Security Council resolution no. 2118 and relevant resolutions of the OPCW Executive Council.
According to the statement, the OPCW Executive Council will convene on January 8th to review a report by special UN-OPCW coordinator "Sigrid Kaag" on this issue.