OPCW Executive Council adopts plan to destroy Syria's chemical weapons program

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Executive Council approved a detailed plan on Friday to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons stockpile.

As part of the plan, Syrian chemical weapons will be transported outside the territory no later than June 30 to ensure they are safely and quickly destroyed. Ahmet umzucu, the director general of the OPCW, welcomed the decision reached by the council.

"The plan provides a clear roadmap," umzucu said. "It sets ambitious milestones to be met by the government of Syria. This next phase will be the most challenging and its timely execution will require the existence of a secure environment for the verification and transport of chemical weapons. Continuing international support and assistance for this endeavor will remain crucial."

The council's decision separates destruction actions in Syria and outside of Syria and sets forth destruction milestones leading to the complete elimination of its chemical weapons program.

Most critical chemicals must be transported out of Syria by December 31, with the removal of all declared precursors and chemical substances by February 5, except for isopropanol. Chemical weapons facilities declared by Syria will undergo sequenced destruction between December 15 and March 15.

In terms of destruction activities outside of Syria, the council decided all priority chemical weapons must be destroyed by March 31 with all other declared chemical materials undergoing destruction by June 30.

umzucu will present a specific plan for the destruction of Syria's chemicals outside of Syria, which will include provisions for ensuring clear responsibility at each stage.

Sigrid Kaag, the special coordinator for the OPCW-U.N. Joint Mission, said the key to the successful implementation of the decision is getting others to join the international effort.