UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) -- Syria, under investigation for the alleged use of chemical weapons and the threat of a U.S. attack for allegedly using them, has started the process of joining the UN Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), an associate UN spokesman said Thursday.
"In the past few hours we have received a document from the government of Syria which is being translated, which is to be an accession document concerning the chemical weapons convention," Farhan Haq, the associate UN spokesman told reporters. "So we will study that document."
He said the document first had to be translated and studied, but he was able to describe it as a document that "starts the process underway" for joining the OPCW.
"There are a number of different ways of joining" the OPCW, he said, and an accession document is one of them.
Asked if this means Syria would then become a "full-fledged party" to the convention, he replied, "I think there are a number of relevant procedures that need to followed, but that would be the first step."
Until this week, Damascus, which had denied having a stockpile of chemical weapons but apparently changed its mind and not only admitted possessing chemical weapons, said it would join the OPCW, and allow inspections of the weapons and hand them over to international control.
It was seen as a major development in the face of an imminent threat of a military strike by the United States, which has announced delaying a final decision on whether to attack.
The breakthrough led to talks beginning in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Syria.
Haq added Lakhdar Brahimi, the joint special envoy of the Arab League and the United Nations on Syria, already held talks in Geneva with Kerry and was to meet later with Lavrov.