18 December 2013 - As requested by the OPCW Executive Council, Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü yesterday submitted to the Council a plan for destroying the Syrian Arab Republic’s chemical weapons outside of the country. The plan aims to meet a deadline set by the Council to destroy Syria’s priority chemicals by 31 March 2014 and other mostly commodity chemicals by 30 June 2014.
In his opening statement at the Council meeting, the Director-General confirmed that “the major elements of a transportation and destruction plan are in place” and that the mission in Syria “is making progress against heavy odds,” including a “massive procurement effort” that has gone into the collection and delivery to Syria of materials and equipment. He credited OPCW States Parties for offering transport, destruction facilities and other material assistance, and for making important financial contributions to the Special Trust Fund.
The Director-General cautioned that time schedules have been disrupted by a combination of security concerns, clearance procedures in international transit, and even inclement weather conditions. He said the possibility of some delays cannot be discounted but that the OPCW-UN Joint Mission is working intensively to commence removal and transportation operations, beginning with the removal of the priority chemicals from the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic at the turn of the year.
“It would have been difficult a month ago to predict the availability of the assets that are now in place or will soon be,” he concluded in his statement. “The resolve and commitment of our States Parties have created the conditions in which we can feel confident in implementing the far‑reaching decisions of the Executive Council and the Security Council of the United Nations.”