Syria Misses Another Deadline on Chemical Weapons

Syrian officials said they would submit a timeline for turning over the rest of the country’s chemical materials.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI - SEPTEMBER 9: (EDITORS NOTE: IMAGE RELEASED BY U.S. MILITARY PRIOR TO TRANSMISSION) In this handout image provided by the U.S. Navy, the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) is anchored off the coast after four storms in one month have devastated the area and killed more than 800 people September 9, 2008 in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. The amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) has been diverted from the scheduled Continuing Promise 2008 humanitarian assistance deployment in the western Caribbean to conduct hurricane relief operations in Haiti. (Photo by Joshua Adam Nuzzo/U.S. Navy via Getty Images)
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Jordain Carney
Feb. 5, 2014, 3:13 a.m.

Syr­ia missed Wed­nes­day’s dead­line to turn over its chem­ic­al weapons, rais­ing ques­tions about the over­all timeline to dis­mantle its chem­ic­al-weapons pro­gram.

But the news that Syr­ia missed the Feb. 5 dead­line isn’t a com­plete sur­prise; earli­er re­ports had sug­ges­ted the coun­try would fail to meet the dead­line, which is part of its agree­ment with the Or­gan­iz­a­tion for the Pro­hib­i­tion of Chem­ic­al Weapons. The OP­CW is over­see­ing the dis­mant­ling and de­struc­tion of Syr­ia’s chem­ic­al-weapons pro­gram.

Rus­sia’s deputy for­eign min­is­ter, Gen­nady Gat­ilov, said Tues­day that Syr­ia would hand over all of its chem­ic­al weapons by March 1, but West­ern dip­lo­mats told Re­u­ters there is little evid­ence that ad­di­tion­al ship­ments are pending.

It’s not the first time Syr­ia has missed a dead­line. It didn’t turn over its most tox­ic chem­ic­als by Dec. 31. So far, the coun­try has turned over two ship­ments of chem­ic­al ma­ter­i­als. The first left Syr­ia in early Janu­ary, the second last week.

The Syr­i­an gov­ern­ment has come un­der in­creas­ing cri­ti­cism by U.S. and West­ern of­fi­cials over slow­ing the de­struc­tion of its chem­ic­als, with a seni­or U.S. of­fi­cial call­ing it a “cred­ib­il­ity is­sue” for the gov­ern­ment.

Of­fi­cials from nearly a dozen coun­tries also said last week that the Syr­i­an gov­ern­ment was to blame for the lack of ser­i­ous pro­gress in a re­cent round of talks in Geneva aimed at end­ing the three-year-old civil war.


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