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Key U.N. Official Spreads Blame for Syria Chemical Delays
A senior U.N. official this week suggested that Syria's government is not entirely to blame for delays in an operation to destroy its chemical weapons.
The Middle Eastern nation's security situation "impacts nearly every dimension" of an operation to remove and eliminate hundreds of tons of warfare chemicals from its violence-plagued territory, according to Angela Kane, U.N. high representative for disarmament affairs.
She spoke shortly before international authorities on Friday reportedly proposed giving President Bashar Assad's regime until the end of next month to finish shipping out the stocks, a process it was earlier scheduled to complete more than two weeks ago. That proposal and an alternative timeline from Damascus appeared to leave the disarmament mission's overseers with little hope of meeting their goal of fully destroying the Syrian chemical arsenal by the end of June.
Kane, though, noted that Damascus "completed initial actions before the established deadlines" for the operation, such as eliminating its chemical-arms preparation gear and offering data on its chemical-weapons inventory.
Still, the U.N. official stressed that the Syrian government ultimately remains "exclusively" responsible for making sure its chemical weapons are completely destroyed. Assad's government admitted holding the stockpile and pledged to give it up last year, after a large-scale nerve gas release killed hundreds of people in a Damascus suburb controlled by its opponents.
The United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons have done "everything possible to facilitate the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons," she asserted in remarks prepared for delivery in New York earlier this week.
Kane provided little detail on specific security challenges faced by disarmament personnel. However, she said the obstacles partially mirror dangers faced by international investigators who last year confirmed at least five chemical strikes in the country.
Reaching one location could require those inspectors to negotiate with "up to 40 different groups, moving from checkpoint to checkpoint," she said.
The U.N. official added that Assad's government "does not control [significant parts] of its territory, including locations where chemical weapons were allegedly used or where chemical weapons facilities are located."
Damascus has denied using its chemical arms in combat, and has placed blame for chemical strikes on rebel forces.
Oct. 31, 2013
This CNS issue brief examines the lessons learned from dismantling Libya and Iraq's chemical weapons programs and what these two cases presage for disarmament in Syria. In particular, this article explores the challenges relating to ensuring material and physical security for both inspectors and the chemical weapons stockpile itself; verifying the accuracy and completeness of disclosed inventories; and developing effective monitoring and verification regimes for the long-term. The conclusion examines recommendations stemming from this analysis.
Oct. 21, 2013
The UNSCR 1540 Resource Collection examines implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540, which requires all states to implement measures aimed at preventing non-state actors from acquiring NBC weapons, related materials, and their means of delivery. It details implementation efforts in all of the regions and countries of the world to-date.
This article provides an overview of Syria's historical and current policies relating to nuclear, chemical, biological and missile proliferation.