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Interview: Progress made in eliminating Syria's chemical stockpiles

English.news.cn   2014-01-14 06:31:23            

DAMASCUS, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- The special coordinator of the joint mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and United Nations (UN), Sigrid Kaag, said that the OPCW-UN joint mission has made "significantly good progress" in eliminating Syria's chemical stockpiles.

"We are working on an unprecedented mission in a rare circumstances. The country is at war and it's a very complex assignment," Kaag said, adding that the removal of the first batch of Syria's chemical weapons was good, which was announced on Jan. 7.

The mission, which aims to rid Syria of its chemical arsenal by mid-2014, has been agreed upon by the Syrian government, which committed itself to remove its chemical weapons, in what observers believe as a move to strip the Western countries of any pretext for military intervention in the war-torn country.

The OPCW announced on Jan. 7 that 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.

The ship will remain at sea until more chemical materials are made available at the Latakia port for pickup. The chemicals eventually will be taken to locations outside Syria for destruction, as part of the agreement the Syrian government has agreed to.

"A first movement as you know was announced on Jan. 7," Kaag said, adding that "I think it was a good first movement, it was a good operation."

Meanwhile, Kaag called on all concerned parties to support the program of destructing the Syrian chemical weapons, saying "we call always on all parties to support this program. It's the responsibility and accountability of the Syrian authorities but everybody has a stake in the successful completion of this mission. "

Kaag also lauded the constructive cooperation of the Syrian authorities, remarking that "the Syrian authorities are cooperating constructively throughout this endeavor."

The 53-year-old Dutch diplomat said there are concerns not obstacles regarding the work of the joint mission, mainly the security condition in Syria.

Asked if she is optimistic about her mission, Kaag said "I think I'm realistic. I'm realistic if I look into the facts on the ground, I look at the constructive cooperation of the government. We continue to work closely with all partners internationally in this efforts as well and I'm confident in the efforts by the joint mission's staff."

The destruction of Syria's chemical weapons is an ongoing process that began with several agreements reached in September 2013.

The Syrian government has repeatedly stressed commitment to its pledges regarding the eradication of chemical weapons, however it accused the rebels of targeting chemical weapons' depots in central and southern Syria, adding that the Syrian troops succeeded to repel such attacks.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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