OPCW: Ceasefires Key to Syria Disarmament Bid

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
Oct. 9, 2013, 11:02 a.m.

The feas­ib­il­ity of an ef­fort to des­troy the Syr­i­an gov­ern­ment’s full chem­ic­al ar­sen­al in less than a year could hinge on wheth­er in­ter­na­tion­al au­thor­it­ies suc­ceed in ne­go­ti­at­ing short-term truces between the coun­try’s war­ring fac­tions, the head of a glob­al chem­ic­al-arms agency said on Wed­nes­day.

Ah­met Üzüm­cü, dir­ect­or gen­er­al of the Or­gan­iz­a­tion for the Pro­hib­i­tion of Chem­ic­al Weapons, told re­port­ers the mid-2014 goal could be achiev­able “if some tem­por­ary cease­fires can be es­tab­lished” in the Syr­i­an civil war, now in its third year.

“Much de­pends on the situ­ation on the ground, that’s why we have urged all parties in Syr­ia to be co­oper­at­ive,” he ad­ded at a news con­fer­ence in The Hag­ue, Neth­er­lands. “The elim­in­a­tion is in the in­terest of all.”

He said dis­arm­a­ment per­son­nel are sched­uled with­in weeks to travel to more than 20 loc­a­tions in the Middle East­ern coun­try, the As­so­ci­ated Press re­por­ted.

Ma­lik El­lahi, OP­CW head of gov­ern­ment re­la­tions and polit­ic­al af­fairs, said Syr­i­an Pres­id­ent Bashar As­sad’s gov­ern­ment trans­ferred a sig­ni­fic­ant por­tion of its chem­ic­al-war­fare stock­pile away from op­pos­i­tion-con­trolled areas.

He said Dam­as­cus to date has in­dic­ated “that most of the sites and fa­cil­it­ies that we need to in­spect are in gov­ern­ment con­trol.”

In­ter­na­tion­al chem­ic­al-weapons aud­it­ors “will only go and con­duct [their] mis­sion” with as­sur­ance “that se­cur­ity on a giv­en day, on a giv­en sched­ule is provided,” El­lahi ad­ded.

Syr­i­an state me­dia on Tues­day aired a video said to show dis­arm­a­ment per­son­nel op­er­at­ing in the coun­try, Agence France-Presse re­por­ted.

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