Syria submits chemical arms destruction plan on time: OPCW

Damascus regime complies with UN schedule by submitting plans to destroy arsenal of chemical weapons ahead of Sunday deadline

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 October, 2013, 8:46pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 October, 2013, 8:49pm

Syria handed over a detailed plan to destroy its chemical stockpile on time, international watchdog the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said on Sunday.

“On 24 October this year, the Syrian Arab Republic submitted to the OPCW its formal initial declaration covering its chemical weapons programme,” the watchdog said in a statement, adding that Damascus had been given until Sunday to do so.

Damascus was required to submit the destruction plan under a deal agreed last month between the US and Russia that headed off military strikes on Syria.

The accord also gives Syria up to the middle of next year to destroy its chemical arsenal.

President Bashar al-Assad’s regime has already handed over an inventory of its chemical weapons and facilities, and international inspectors are busy inspecting and destroying them.

The OPCW said a first monthly report by the international inspectors, covering their work on the ground since October 1, is ready and will be sent to the UN Security Council by UN chief Ban Ki-moon.

Syria’s latest disclosures “provide the basis on which plans are devised for a systematic, total and verified destruction of declared chemical weapons and production facilities”, said the OPCW, which won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

“The document from Syria includes a general plan of destruction for consideration by the OPCW Executive Council,” it added.

The OPCW’s Executive Council will use the Syrian declaration to decide by November 15 on “destruction milestones” for Syria’s arsenal.

Syria has also sent in a declaration of its chemical weapons activities and facilities, meeting its obligations as a new state party to the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW said.