The joint team of United Nations and international inspectors overseeing the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons production facilities has kicked off its duties in Damascus.The team will soon start dismantling the facilities.
While briefing journalists in New York, UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky said that chemical weapons inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the UN are part of the operation to eliminate the country’s chemical weapons programme by mid-2014.
The advance team has begun “securing the sites where the team will operate, especially in outlying areas, Mr. Nesirky said.
“The team has also been considering the health and environmental hazards which they may have to confront,” he added.
In addition, “planning continues for one of the team’s immediate tasks, disabling Syria’s chemical weapons production facilities, which should begin soon.”
Discussions about the size of the stockpiles are also under way, as well as long-term planning, “so that deadlines unanimously imposed by the Executive Council of the OPCW and the UN Security Council are met.”
The 15-member Council unanimously adopted a resolution last Friday calling for the speedy implementation of procedures drawn up by the OPCW “for the expeditious destruction of the Syrian Arab Republic’s chemical weapons programme and stringent verification thereof.”