The UN Security Council supports a proposal by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons by mid-2014.
Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin and his French counterpart Gerard Araud announced on Thursday that the 15-member Council had decided to authorize the proposal in a letter, instead of a resolution.
On October 7, Ban proposed the formation of a joint mission by the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), with a total of 100 experts, to conduct the elimination operation.
The Russian envoy said “no objections” were raised in the first session of Security Council talks on Ban’s Syria plan, adding, “Good cooperation by the Syrian government has been noted.”
According to Churkin, the Council will send a letter to the OPCW formalizing the accord for a joint UN-OPCW mission. The letter is expected to be approved later on Friday. Ban is also expected to choose a leader for the joint mission.
Araud also said the Council had agreed that the UN and the OPCW are doing “a great job.”
Following a fatal chemical attack on the outskirts of Damascus on August 21, the United States threatened a military strike against Syria under the pretext that the Syrian government was behind the incident. Damascus strongly categorically rejected the allegation.
However, the Security Council approved a resolution on September 27 supporting a Russia-US deal to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons by mid-2014. The deal was reached after Moscow offered Syria to place its chemical weapons arsenal under international supervision and Damascus accepted the proposal.
The first members of OPCW-UN inspectors have started their mission to oversee the elimination.
Reports say that 27 inspectors are scheduled to visit more than 20 different sites in Syria. The sites reportedly include areas held by the militants.
On October 9, OPCW Director General Ahmet Uzumcu praised Syria’s cooperation with the team of inspectors, saying, “The cooperation has been quite constructive and I would say the Syrian authorities have been cooperative.”
By Press TV
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