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Watchdog backs Syria chemical plan

Source BBC News@

Nick Childs reports on the hopes for a UN resolution

The international chemical weapons watchdog is meeting to agree a plan to dismantle Syria's stockpile.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons's 41-nation executive council is expected to approve the timetable in the coming hours.

The plan will then be incorporated into a Russia-US agreed resolution which will go before the UN Security Council almost immediately afterwards.

The OPCW says it wants its inspectors to be in Syria by next Tuesday.

The plan sets out a deadline that will see the destruction of production and mixing/filling equipment by 1 November 2013 and the complete destruction of all chemical weapons material and equipment in the first half of next year.

Syria is instructed to provide "immediate and unfettered" access to the OPCW's inspectors.

The text also authorises inspectors to investigate sites not declared by Damascus.

Syria's chemical weapons

  • Syria believed to possess more than 1,000 tonnes of chemical agents and pre-cursor chemicals, including blister agent, sulphur mustard, and sarin nerve agent; also thought to have produced most potent nerve agent, VX

  • US believes Syria's arsenal can be "delivered by aircraft, ballistic missile, and artillery rockets"

  • Syria acceded to Chemical Weapons Convention on 14 September; it signed Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention in 1972 but never ratified

This is unchartered waters for the OPCW, which is a small organisation that has never undertaken a job of this size or complexity, the BBC's world affairs correspondent Paul Adams says.

It will need a lot of help and is expected to ask for urgent funding and additional personnel, he adds.

If the text is approved, as expected, by the OPCW's executive council, it will form part of a UN resolution which sets out to govern the whole process.

The resolution - which is expected to go before the UN Security Council in New York in a few hours' time - condemns the use of chemical weapons but does not attribute blame.

US President Barack Obama said agreement on the issue by Security Council members would be a "potentially huge victory for the international community".

The OPCW headquarters in The Hague on 27 September 2013The OPCW plan, if approved by its national executive, will be included in the UN resolution

Previous attempts at a resolution have stumbled amid disagreements between Russia and the US on how to deal with the crisis in Syria.

Meanwhile. violence goes on in Syria. Activists said a car bomb killed at least 20 people near a mosque in Rankus, a town north of Damascus, just after Friday prayers.

'Comprehensive report

Earlier, the UN said its team of inspectors currently in Syria are investigating three chemical weapons attacks alleged to have happened after the 21 August attack in Damascus that left hundreds dead and sparked a threat of US military action.

The three attacks are among seven alleged incidents the UN said its team were investigating.


In a statement, the UN said its team, led by Ake Sellstrom, arrived in Syria for its second visit on 25 September and hopes to finish its work by Monday 30 September.

It is working on a "comprehensive report" that it expects to have finished by late October.

The UN listed the alleged attacks, which all took place this year, as Khan al-Assal on 19 March; Sheikh Maqsoud on 13 April; Saraqeb on 29 April; Ghouta on 21 August; Bahhariya on 22 August; Jobar on 24 August and Ashrafieh Sahnaya on 25 August.

Syria pushed for the investigation of the three post-21 August incidents.

Its envoy to the UN, Bashar Jaafari, accused "militants" of using chemical gas against the army in Bahhariya, Jobar and Ashrafieh Sahnaya.

Đăng ký: Tieng Anh Vui

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