Syria to complete toxic chemical removal by March
Earnest February 4, 2014
Media MOSCOW—Russia's deputy foreign minister says Syria has planned to remove a large shipment of toxic chemical agents this month.
"Literally yesterday the Syrians announced that the removal of a large
shipment of chemical substances is planned in February," Gennady Gatilov
said on Tuesday.
"They are ready to complete this process by March 1," the Russian official added.
On September 14, 2013, Russia and the United States agreed on a
deal according to which Syria would see its chemical weapons eliminated
and the US would in return not follow through planned military action
against the country.
Under the deal, supervised by the Organization for the
Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Nordic vessels are set to
collect the chemicals from the port city of Latakia and take them to a
port in Italy, where they will be loaded onto a US ship for
In late October, Damascus destroyed its critical chemical
weapons production equipment, meeting a November 1 deadline set by the
OPCW Executive Council. The UN-mandated disarmament operation is due to be completed by the middle of 2014.
The US administration, however, has accused the Syrian
government of dragging its feet in the effort to eliminate the chemical
Russia has rejected the charges by Washington, saying a June 30
deadline to destroy Syria's arsenal of toxic agents remains viable
despite delays.The Russian Foreign Ministry has said that the delays are due
to security problems on the road to Latakia and insufficient technical