News Middle East

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Chemical weapons plan in Syria hit by delays

Nils Myklebost

Published 11/12/2013 | 23:33

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Actress Claire Danes (C) and her husband, British actor Hugh Dancy (centre R) are seen among the audience during the Nobel Peace Prize awards ceremony at the City Hall in Oslo
Actress Claire Danes (C) and her husband, British actor Hugh Dancy (centre R) are seen among the audience during the Nobel Peace Prize awards ceremony at the City Hall in Oslo
Ahmet Uzumcu, director general of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)
Ahmet Uzumcu, director general of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)

The head of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning watchdog leading the mission to destroy Syria's chemical weapons says there may be delays in transporting the chemicals out of the country.

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The most toxic chemicals are supposed to be taken out of Syria by December 31, but that deadline "will be quite difficult to meet", Ahmet Uzumcu, director-general of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, told reporters in Oslo.

"This is very challenging, especially in view of the security situation, which is worsening in this country," he said.

He also called the goal to get less-toxic chemicals out of Syria by February 5 "quite an ambitious timeline" and added "there might be a few days' delay".

Nevertheless, Uzumcu said he was hopeful all the Syrian chemicals would be destroyed by mid-2014 as planned.

He was in the Norwegian capital to collect the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the OPCW yesterday.

The plan is to ship the chemicals from the port of Latakia, but getting them there in the middle of a civil war is a challenge.

Syria's deputy foreign minister last week said his country needed armoured vehicles and other resources to move chemicals out of the country.

Irish Independent

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