UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- A first shipment of chemical materials was moved from Syria on Tuesday, which initiated the process of transferring chemical weapons from the country to locations outside its territory for destruction, said the joint mission overseeing the disarmament.
"Further progress has been made towards the removal and elimination of the Syrian Arab Republic's chemical weapons program, " said a statement issued to the press here by Sigrid Kaag, the Special Coordinator of the Joint Mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the United Nations.
"A first quantity of priority chemical materials was moved from two sites to the port of Lattakia for verification and was then loaded onto a Danish commercial vessel today," the statement said, adding that the vessel has been accompanied by naval escorts provided by Denmark and Norway, as well as Syria.
"This movement initiates the process of transfer of chemical materials from the Syrian Arab Republic to locations outside its territory for destruction," said the statement.
According to it, the vessel has now left the port of Lattakia for international waters. It will remain at sea awaiting the arrival of additional priority chemical materials at the port.
"Maritime security is being provided by naval escorts from the People's Republic of China, Denmark, Norway and the Russian Federation," it added.
In the statement, the Joint Mission encouraged Syria to continue its efforts to complete the removal of chemical materials "as soon as possible in a safe and timely manner."
It also pledged to continue to assist Syria in fulfilling its obligations under UN Security Council resolution 2118 and the decisions of the OPCW Executive Council.
"The Joint Mission continues to coordinate with member states, in particular the Syrian Arab Republic, to mobilize resources and undertake all the necessary steps towards the complete removal and elimination of the Syrian Arab Republic's chemical weapons program, " the statement added.
The UN Security Council resolution 2118, unanimously adopted on Sept. 27, decided to rid the war-torn Syria of chemical weapons. Under the resolution, the OPCW is mandated to oversee the elimination of Syria's chemical weapons.
The OPCW-UN Joint Mission was formally established on Oct. 16 to achieve the timely removal in the safest and most secure manner possible. According to OPCW, the deadline for elimination is June 30, 2014.
The chemical materials in Syria were set to be shipped outside the country via its coastal city of Latakia to be destroyed on a ship in the sea.
Denmark and Norway agreed on Dec. 6 to jointly transport chemical materials out of Syria, under a UN request to provide protection and transport to the Joint Mission of dismantling Syria 's stockpile of chemical weapons.
However, the Joint Mission said on Dec. 28 that the transportation of the most critical chemical material out of Syria before the deadline of Dec. 31, 2013 is unlikely due to the volatility in overall security conditions in Syria.
BEIJING, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese frigate on Tuesday started its mission of escorting transport of Syria's chemical weapons out of the country, said a press release from the Arms Control Department of Chinese Foreign Ministry.
The frigate Yancheng entered the territorial waters of Syria on Tuesday and started the mission in close coordination with naval vessels from Russia, Denmark and Norway, according to the press release. Full story
DAMASCUS, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- A first batch of priority chemical materials was moved from two Syrian sites to the port of Lattakia for verification and was then loaded onto a Danish commercial vessel on Tuesday, a statement by the OPCW-UN Joint Mission in Syria said.
The Joint Mission confirms that further progress has been made toward the removal and elimination of Syria's chemical weapon program, the statement said, adding that the vessel has been accompanied by naval escorts of Denmark and Norway as well as Syria. Full story