OPCW, U.N. deserve the credit for destroying Syrian chemical weapons

The United Nations and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons deserve the credit for destroying Syria's chemical weapons, the U.S. State Department said on Friday.

Marie Harf, the deputy spokesperson for the State Department, made the statement on Friday during a press briefing in Washington. Harf responded to a question about recent reports that Bashar al-Assad's Syrian regime is taking credit for the OPCW's Nobel Peace Prize win. She did not agree that Assad's cooperation made the award possible.

"I don't - wouldn't put the Syrian regime in any sentence with the word 'peace' or 'the Nobel Peace Prize' in any way, shape, or form," Harf said. "What we've said, and I think the OPCW and the U.N. have been the ones on the front lines leading this effort to start destroying parts of the program and that will be doing the tough work going forward, obviously, in conjunction with a lot of international partners."

Harf said that while the Syrian regime has responsibilities, the OPCW took unprecedented steps and worked with unprecedented speed to confront the Syrian chemical weapons problem.

When asked if the Nobel Peace Prize would give an added level of protection to OPCW chemical weapons inspectors on the ground in Syria, Harf said the Syrian regime must protect everybody as a part of this effort.

"I think with or without a Nobel Peace Prize, I think that it goes without saying that the Syrian regime has a responsibility to protect the safety of everybody as part of this effort on the ground," Harf said. "I don't think this should - I think that should have been the case before it, quite frankly."