Syrian Chemical Disarmament Deadline Realistic – Russian Diplomat

MOSCOW, February 9 (RIA Novosti) – The deadline for eliminating Syria’s entire stockpile of chemical weapons is realistic and there is no need to revise it, Russia’s UN envoy said on Saturday.

“Although the initial disarmament schedule was quite ambitious, the deadline of June 30 is quite realistic,” Vitaly Churkin said.

In a move that jeopardized the timetable set up by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Syria has missed the February 5 deadline to give up all the toxic materials it had declared to the world’s chemical weapons watchdog.

Russia’s UN ambassador said that there were several reasons for the delay, including threats against members of the international disarmament team and other security problems.

The operation to destroy Syria’s arsenal of more than 1,000 metric tons of weapons-grade chemicals is due to take place in two stages.

The most dangerous material was to have been removed from Syria by December 31, although this deadline was missed as a result of the unstable security situation in the country. It should be destroyed at sea by April, with the rest slated for destruction by June 30.

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