Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
FILE - In this file photo released Saturday Aug. 31, 2013 by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, samples brought back by the U.N. chemical weapons inspection team are checked in upon their arrival at The Hague, Netherlands. Syria has sent the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons an "initial declaration" outlining its weapons program, the organization said Friday Sept. 20, 2013. (AP Photo/OPCW, Henry Arvidsson, File)
Syria sends watchdog chemical weapons inventory
First Published Sep 20 2013 06:48 pm • Last Updated Sep 20 2013 06:47 pm

THE HAGUE, Netherlands • Syria has sent the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons an "initial declaration" outlining its weapons program, the organization said Friday, in keeping with the agreement Russia and the U.S. brokered to have Syria give up its chemical weapons arsenal.

Michael Luhan, the organization’s spokesman, told The Associated Press the declaration is "being reviewed by our verification division," but details of it will not be released.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the United States and other nations that have joined the chemical weapons organization "will be making a careful and thorough review of the initial document."

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, based in The Hague, polices a global treaty known as the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993, which bars the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical arms. The organization relies on a global network of more than a dozen top laboratories to analyze field samples.

U.S. officials said last week that the United States and Russia agreed that Syria had roughly 1,000 metric tons of chemical weapons agents and precursors, including blister agents, such as sulfur and mustard gas and nerve agents like sarin.

In the aftermath of the U.N. report that concluded sarin had been used in an attack in Damascus last month, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is looking at ways to fast-track moves to secure and destroy Syria’s arsenal of poison gas and nerve agents as well as its production facilities.

However, diplomatic efforts to speed up the process are moving slowly. A meeting initially scheduled for Sunday at which the organization’s 41-nation executive council was to have discussed a U.S.-Russian plan to swiftly rid Syria of chemical weapons was postponed Friday, and no new date was immediately set. No reason was given for the postponement.

Harf said she did not know why the meeting was postponed, but said Syria’s initial declaration was a step Washington was seeking "and we’ll go from there."

Under a U.S.-Russia agreement brokered last weekend in Geneva, inspectors are to be on the ground in Syria by November. During that month, they are to complete their initial assessment and all mixing and filling equipment for chemical weapons is to be destroyed.

All components of the chemical weapons program are to be removed from the country or destroyed by mid-2014.


story continues below
story continues below

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons plan of action will be backed up by a U.N. Security Council resolution, and negotiations remain underway on the text of such a resolution.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he talked to his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, about Syria’s chemical weapons early Friday.

"I had a fairly long conversation with Foreign Minister Lavrov," Kerry said in Washington. "We talked about the cooperation which we both agreed to continue to provide, moving not only toward the adoption of the OPCW rules and regulations, but also a resolution that is firm and strong within the United Nations. We will continue to work on that."

In an interview with Fox News Channel aired Wednesday, Syrian President Bashar Assad blamed terrorists for the Aug. 21 chemical attack, which the U.S. says killed more than 1,400 people, including hundreds of children. He said evidence that terrorist groups have used sarin gas has been turned over to Russia and that Russia, through one of its satellites, has evidence that the rockets in the attack were launched from another area.

While the U.N. report did not lay blame, many experts interpreting the report said all indications were that the attack was conducted by Assad forces.

————

Associated Press writer Deb Riechmann contributed from Washington, D.C.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.