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UN-OPCW Joint Mission Coordinator hails Syria chemicals removal as “unprecedented”

Beirut, SANA-Sigrid Kaag, the Special Coordinator for the OPCW-UN Joint Mission expected the chemical weapons file in Syria to be completely closed within two months.

Speaking earlier in Damascus to the Lebanese As-Safir daily in an interview published on Friday, Kaag said that “what has been accomplished against tough odds was unprecedented,” applauding the efforts of the joint mission and the Syrian government’s cooperation.

Chairperson of the chemical weapons watchdog said the mission is scaling down its presence in Damascus and preparing for work with a “more common mechanism” between the organization and the Syrian government as regards the unfinished phases of disarmament and inspection.

Commenting on the allegations that Syria was behind the June 30 deadline for the transfer of its chemical materials, Kaag pointed to “satisfaction” that by June 30, all chemical weapons had been transferred outside Syria, with the bulk of the declared chemical program inspected or destroyed.

Kaag said that it is a matter of “two months or so” before the mission wraps up its work, saying that “what remained of the process does not require high technical measures.”

Asked whether her mission had impacted the political process in Syria, Kaag considered it “difficult to tell” as her mission was moving “along a separate track.”

“Of course, people can wish that this humble effort and cooperation might lead to a better climate and that humanitarian and political priorities take center stage,” she added.

Syria became party to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in September 2013.

The Joint Mission of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Nations (OPCW-UN) declared the completion of removal of chemical weapons material from Syria on June 24.

M. Ismael

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