27 November 2013 - Following the issuance of the second monthly progress report regarding the OPCW- UN Joint Mission in Syria, a meeting of the Executive Council of the OPCW was held on 26 November 2013.
In his opening statement, Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü stated that “the resolve to eliminate Syrian chemical weapons in the safest and soonest manner possible reflects a collective commitment,” and added that “States Parties, especially those with the capacity to safely dispose of such chemicals, can and must play their part.”
A significant part of Syria’s stockpile falls in the category of common industrial chemicals - or chemicals that otherwise can safely be rendered harmless or destroyed by commercial chemical disposal companies. The Director-General urged Member States to encourage qualified firms based in their countries to participate in this process.
A large portion of the materials necessary for the safe and secure packaging of Syria’s declared chemicals has arrived in Lebanon. Arrangements are currently underway for their onward transportation to Damascus from where they will be distributed to the various relevant sites.
At the same time, the verification of destruction activities being conducted by Syria continues. The number of OPCW inspectors there will soon be increased in keeping with the need to run verification activities in parallel at different locations. This includes witnessing the decanting and packing of chemicals, collecting samples for further analysis, as well as monitoring the loading and embarkation of chemicals for transportation outside Syrian territory.
The programme to remove chemical weapons from Syria to locations elsewhere continues to pose challenges due to the security situation on the ground.