UN chief hails destruction of Syrian chemicals

Written by: IANS
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Ban Ki Moon
United Nations, Aug 21: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon on Wednesday welcomed the destruction of Syria's declared chemical weapons material on board the US Maritime Vessel Cape Ray.

"This marks a significant achievement in the international community's efforts to eliminate the chemical weapons programme of the Syrian Arab Republic, following the framework agreement between the Russian Federation and the United States of America," Xinhua quoted a statement issued here by Ban's spokesperson as saying.

"The secretary-general appreciates the cooperation of the government of the Syrian Arab Republic and commends those member states that provided crucial support to this process."

In the statement, the UN chief also thanked the UN- Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Joint Mission for its leadership and commitment.

The US maritime vessel Cape Ray has completed destruction of its entire consignment of 600 metric tonnes of Category 1 chemicals from Syria, the OPCW announced on Tuesday.

According to the chemical watchdog, the operation was completed weeks ahead of the 60-day schedule that the US had estimated.

Six days ago the OPCW already announced that the United States completed all 581 metric tonnes of a precursor chemical for sarin gas from Syria on the Cape Ray as well.

The Syrian government headed by President Bashar al-Assad agreed to turn over its declared chemical weapons in September last year, as Washington and some of its allies threatened to launch air strikes in response to Damascus' alleged use of sarin gas in a conflict with the rebel forces.


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