Chemical weapons team gets down to work in Syria
The joint OPCW-UN team has completed its first working day in an operation that aims to rid Syria of its chemical weapons programme by mid-2014.
Joint work with the Syrian authorities has begun on securing the sites where the team will operate, especially in outlying areas. The team has also been considering the health and environmental hazards which they may have to confront. In addition, planning continues for one of the team's immediate tasks, disabling Syria's chemical weapons production facilities, which should begin soon. Meanwhile, discussions on the size of Syria's stockpiles are also under way, as well as long-term planning, so that deadlines unanimously imposed by the Executive Council of the OPCW and the UN Security Council are met.
In their discussions with the authorities, the OPCW-UN team was keen to stress that the onus was on the Syrian Government to meet the verification and destruction deadlines. It was however reiterated that the joint mission will provide the necessary technical support to meet these obligations. Meeting the regular reporting requirements will be one indication of compliance.