5 November 2013 - Addressing today the 34th meeting of the Executive Council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü provided an update on the progress made in the OPCW-UN Joint Mission in Syria since the publication of his first report on 25 October 2013.
Ambassador Üzümcü informed the Council that verification and functional destruction activities had been completed within the deadlines of 27 October and 1 November, respectively, at all sites (21), except for two which could not be visited due to safety and security reasons. Items from these two sites had been moved to other accessible sites and verified against the disclosure submitted by Syria. The Director-General added that “for the month of November, verification of destruction of category 3 chemical weapons [unfilled munitions] will continue, and destruction of specialised equipment and buildings at production, mixing and filling plants is also envisaged.”
Category 3 chemical weapons are unfilled munitions. As of today, Syria has reported the destruction of 99 such warheads at one site, with another 55 warheads expected to be destroyed at a second site. Similar destruction work has commenced at five other sites.
Referring to the general plan for destruction of its chemical weapons programme submitted by Syria, the Director-General stated that Syria’s proposal “that the destruction of chemical weapons be carried out outside of the country constitutes the most viable option.” He noted that Syria’s proposal was based on “practical challenges of carrying out destruction work in the midst of an armed conflict,” as well as on “resource limitations.”
The Director-General added that discussions aimed at finalising plans for the destruction of chemical weapons in Syria would commence soon with the participation of a Syrian delegation arriving in The Hague today.
The Director-General praised the courage, dedication and professionalism of OPCW inspectors and all other staff of the Joint Mission in challenging circumstances. Members of the Council commended the work of the inspection team and the accomplishments of the Joint Mission.