THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Members of the world’s chemical weapons watchdog will meet Sunday to discuss how to fast-track securing and destroying Syria’s poison gas and nerve agent arsenal.
Spokesman Michael Luhan said Thursday that the executive council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons will discuss the deal brokered by the United States and Russia to put Syria’s chemical weapons under international supervision and destroy them in coming months.
Under the US-Russia agreement, 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.
Both the United States and Russia are among the 41 nations with representatives on the OPCW’s executive council.
In a joint US-Russian paper sent to members of the council and posted on the OPCW website Thursday, the two countries said they are working on sending the council in the coming days “a draft decision setting down special procedures for expeditious destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons program and stringent verification thereof.”
The OPCW said in a statement earlier this week, that moves to rid Syria of chemical weapons would be undertaken swiftly, in the aftermath of the U.N. report that concluded sarin had been used in an attack in Damascus last month.
Syria is expected to provide a full inventory of its chemical weapons and production facilities and OPCW experts will then travel to Syria to conduct on-site inspections to verify the accuracy of the list.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.