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To start moving out Syria's chemical weapons despite delay: UN chief

English.news.cn   2013-12-29 09:24:37            

UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Saturday that despite a delay in moving chemical weapons out of Syria, "safe and secure" transportation will be started "as soon as possible."

Ban's spokesperson Martin Nesirky issued a statement following the announcement made by the joint mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the UN earlier on Saturday that due to technical difficulties, there will be a limited delay in the transport of the first tranche of chemical agents from the Syria. These had been anticipated to be removed by Dec. 31.

"The Secretary-General stresses that the international effort to eliminate the chemical weapons program of the Syrian Arab Republic continues to make effective progress, as demonstrated by the steady achievements in meeting all previous milestones in the past three months," the statement said.

Despite the delay, Ban said, the joint mission continues to work closely and intensively with the Syrian government and the assisting state parties to "begin safe and secure removal and transportation operations as soon as possible."

Under the UN Security Council resolution 2118, the OPCW is mandated to oversee the elimination of Syria's chemical weapons.

The joint OPCW-UN mission was set up two months ago to achieve the timely removal in the safest and most secure manner possible. Since August, the OPCW staff have been in Syria to inspect and verify the country's chemical weapon stockpiles.

According to the organization, the deadline for elimination is June 30, 2014.


Removal of Syrian chemical weapons unlikely before deadline

DAMASCUS, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- The joint OPCW-UN mission in Syria said Saturday that the transportation of the most critical chemical material out of Syria before the deadline of December 31, 2013 is unlikely due to the volatility in overall security conditions in Syria.

In a statement issued Saturday, the joint mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the United Nations (UN) said "Preparations continue in readiness for the transport of most of the critical chemical material from the Syrian Arab Republic for outside destruction. However, at this stage, transportation of the most critical chemical material before December 31 is unlikely." Full story

Syria says to attend Geneva II for interests of Syria only

DAMASCUS, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- Syria's Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi stressed Saturday that his government will take part in the Geneva II peace conference on Syria "to build the renewed Syria according to the interests of Syria only."

"Syria is going to Geneva II conference with the support of the sweeping majority of the Syrian people and the sacrifices and steadfastness of the Syrian army to build the renewed Syria according to the interests of Syria only," Information Minister al- Zoubi said during a two-day forum discussing means of developing Islamic media outlets and coordination among them in light of the ongoing events in Syria. Full story

Syria's crisis to be solved by Syrians only through dialogue: Assad

DAMASCUS, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- Syria's President Bashar al-Assad stresses that the Syrian crisis would only be solved through national dialogue among Syrians and under a Syrian leadership, according to the state-run SANA news agency.

The president's remarks were made during a written letter he sent to Pope Francis of the Vatican via Joseph Sweid, a Syrian minister of state, who held talks in the Vatican on Saturday. Full story

Iran says alleged deal over Syrian Assad "untrue"

TEHRAN, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- An Iranian Foreign Ministry official denied on Saturday a report alleging that the West offered Iran sanctions relief in exchange for Tehran agreeing to the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Press TV reported.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said the report by London-based Al-Hayat daily is "untrue", adding that "The Syrian people will decide their fate." Full story

Editor: Yang Yi
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