Syria to remove toxic chemicals by March: Russia
Iran Press TV
Tue Feb 4, 2014 9:18AM GMT
Russia's deputy foreign minister says Syria has planned to remove a large shipment of toxic chemical agents this month.
"Literally yesterday the Syrians announced that the removal of a large shipment of chemical substances is planned in February," Gennady Gatilov said on Tuesday.
"They are ready to complete this process by March 1," the Russian official added.
On September 14, 2013, Russia and the United States agreed on a deal according to which Syria would see its chemical weapons eliminated and the US would in return not follow through planned military action against the country.
Under the deal, which is supervised by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Nordic vessels are set to collect the chemicals from the port city of Latakia and take them to a port in Italy, where they will be loaded onto a US ship for annihilation.
In late October, Damascus destroyed its critical chemical weapons production equipment, meeting a November 1 deadline set by the OPCW Executive Council.
The UN-mandated disarmament operation is due to be completed by the middle of 2014.
The US administration, however, has accused the Syrian government of dragging its feet in the effort to eliminate the chemical weapons stockpile.
Russia has rejected the charges by Washington, saying a June 30 deadline to destroy Syria's arsenal of toxic agents remains viable despite delays.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has said that the delays are due to security problems on the road to Latakia and insufficient technical support.
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