U.S. encourages other nations to support OPCW-U.N. mission in Syria

The U.S. is encouraging other nations to provide what support they can to the joint mission to destroy chemical weapons in Syria, the U.S. State Department said on Wednesday.

Marie Harf, the deputy spokesperson for the State Department, made the remarks on Wednesday during her daily press briefing. When asked if the U.S. would provide special materials to help the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the U.N. destroy Syrian chemical weapons, Harf said discussions with the mission are ongoing.

"We're certainly talking with the OPCW," Harf said. "We've also encouraged other nations to provide support, including personnel, technical expertise, information, equipment, and financial and other resources to assist the missions that the OPCW and the U.N. are undertaking. Those discussions are ongoing."

When asked if the government shutdown is hampering the ability of the U.S. to provide assistance to the OPCW, Harf said she did not believe it would constrain the U.S. in such a way. She said she would look into the question further to make sure.

Harf also fielded a question about a recent comment by the OPCW that inspectors plan to visit 20 chemical weapon sites in Syria. American officials previously said there are at least 45 sites they know of in Syria. When asked if the Syrians failed to declare all of their chemical weapon sites or if the OPCW inspectors are simply going to visit fewer than half of the sites known to the U.S., Harf said she would look into the question.

She noted that the next official declaration the Syrians have to make to the OPCW is not due until October 27.

"We're obviously waiting for that and will be assessing that," Harf said. "And obviously, we believe that they have to fully comply, which means destruction of all sites and associated weapons. Let me just check on the numbers."