Director-General salutes returning group of OPCW inspectors to The Hague
The Joint Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons – United Nations Mission confirmed today that the government of the Syrian Arab Republic has completed the functional destruction of critical equipment for all of its declared chemical weapons production facilities and mixing/filling plants, rendering them inoperable.
By doing so, Syria has met the deadline set by the OPCW Executive Council* to “complete as soon as possible and in any case not later than 1 November 2013, the destruction of chemical weapons production and mixing/filling equipment.”
At the same time, OPCW Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü welcomed back to the OPCW headquarters in The Hague a returning group of eight inspectors, who arrived in Damascus with the Advanced Team on 1 October and have been conducting the verification work on the ground ever since.
“On behalf of the OPCW, I thank you and all of our colleagues from the Joint OPCW-UN Mission who remain in Syria for your outstanding service,” the Director-General said. “I salute the fortitude and courage you’ve all demonstrated in fulfilling the most challenging mission ever undertaken by this Organisation.”
The Joint OPCW-UN Mission has inspected 21 of the 23 sites declared by Syria, and 39 of the 41 facilities located at those sites. The two remaining sites were not visited due to safety and security concerns. But Syria declared those sites as abandoned and that the chemical weapons programme items they contained were moved to other declared sites, which were inspected.
The Joint Mission is now satisfied that it has verified – and seen destroyed – all of Syria’s declared critical production and mixing/filling equipment. Given the progress made in the Joint OPCW-UN Mission in meeting the requirements of the first phase of activities, no further inspection activities are currently planned. The next milestone for the mission will be 15 November, by which time the Executive Council must approve a detailed plan of destruction submitted by Syria to eliminate its chemical weapons stockpile.
* Executive Council Decision EC-M-33/DEC.1 (27 September 2013)