On Tuesday in Damascus the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) special coordinator leading the team in Syria responsible for the destruction of chemical weapons in the country said in a statement that thus far the Syrian government has “fully cooperated” with the joint OPCW-United Nations mission.
“To date, the Government of Syria has fully cooperated in supporting the work of the advance team and the OPCW-UN Joint Mission,” Sigrid Kaag, Special Coordinator of the Joint OPCW-UN Mission remarked in the statement. She continued, “Allow me to thank the Government of Syria for its cooperation and to express my gratitude to the Syrian people for their warm welcome.”
In September, after threat of military intervention by the United States and negotiations between the U.S. and Syria’s ally Russia, Syria agreed to sign the international chemical weapons ban treaty and to allow a UN team to enter in order to dispose of the nation’s chemical weapon supply.
Evidence had been discovered by the United States and the United Nations that Syria had used chemical weapons on its own people in August.
Kaag indicated that the planned schedule for disposing of the weapons by the end of the first half of 2014 is challenging.
“I am glad to be in Syria following the welcome decision by the UN Security Council and the Executive Council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, calling for the expeditious destruction of the chemical weapons program of the Syrian Arab Republic,” Kaag noted. “By joining the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Syrian Government has indicated its commitment to the task."