UN: Syria on Target to Destroy Chemical Arms
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Syria is on target to meet a looming deadline to destroy its chemical weapons production equipment, even though inspectors have yet to visit all sites, Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, said in a progress report.
"The functional destruction of the declared capacity of the Syrian Arab Republic is expected to be completed as planned by November 1," Ban said in the report to the UN Security Council obtained by Al Jazeera.
The report stated that personnel from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the UN had completed inspections at 37 of the 41 facilities, and that "as at the cut-off date of this report, the findings of the inspections corroborated the information provided by the Syrian Arab Republic about the above-mentioned facilities."
Destruction of the chemical production and mixing facilities is the first major deadline of a tight timetable set out by the Security Council to eliminate all of Syria's chemical weapons by June 30 next year.
Syria still has an estimated 1,000 tons of chemicals to be destroyed and no plan has yet been agreed for the risky operation, officials said.
The inspectors have "confirmed the functional destruction of the production and mixing and filling capabilities at all the sites" inspected so far, Ban said.
He stressed that the deadline should be met "a mere" 34 days after the 15-nation Security Council ordered the destruction of all of Syria's chemical weapons.
"In all of these activities the government of the Syrian Arab Republic has extended consistent, constructive cooperation," Ban said.
There are 22 OPCW experts and about 50 UN staff supervising the destruction programme so far, the UN report said.
The report said security "remains difficult and unpredictable" for the inspectors because of the 31 month old war which the UN says has left well over 100,000 dead.