Statement by the OPCW Director-General
28 December 2013 - The Director-General has welcomed the further steps by the international community demonstrating that it is poised and ready to assist with the removal of chemicals from the Syrian Arab Republic for disposal outside its territory. States Parties providing maritime support for this operation met in Moscow on 27 December and agreed on the modalities for coordination of the transport and escort vessels in Syrian territorial waters and at the port. The Executive Council is scheduled to meet next on 8 January 2014 to review progress.
In his statement to the Executive Council [PDF 24 KB] on 17 December 2013, the Director-General had referred to the fact that “schedules have been disrupted by a combination of security concerns, clearance procedures in international transit and even inclement weather conditions.” These circumstances have added pressures to the time frames and raised possibilities of some delays. The Executive Council also noted that "technical factors have caused delays regarding some aspects of removal operations for high-priority chemicals and may also affect future implementation activities".
The Director-General commends the efforts of States Parties assisting in the removal and transportation process. Despite a number of practical challenges, virtually all of the necessary logistical and security related assets are now available. This should facilitate the commencement of the removal and transportation plans. Noting the statement issued today on behalf of the Joint Mission that the transportation of the most critical chemical material before 31 December is unlikely, the Director-General recalls that his latest monthly report issued on 23 December 2013 encourages the Syrian authorities to look at all possible options for risk mitigation in order to transport the chemicals from their locations to the port of loading.
Praising the courage and determination of the staff of the OPCW-UN Joint Mission in Syria, the Director-General noted that their professionalism has led to the achievement of major landmarks. These include verification of destruction of the ability to produce chemical weapons and complete destruction of all munitions meant for use as chemical weapons. The Joint Mission stands ready to oversee the implementation of the final stage involving the removal and destruction of chemicals.
Saturday, 28 December 2013