U.N. Security officials expect timely completion of Joint Mission

The United Nations Security Council recently announced that it expects Syria to meet its June deadline for the complete elimination of chemical weapons from the nation through the U.N. Joint Mission.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-U.N. Joint Mission in Syria began immediately after Syria acceded to the Chemical Weapons Convention. Phase I of the Mission, which involved removing the most hazardous chemical weapons from the nation, was completed one week behind schedule, but U.N. officials still expect the Mission to be completed on time.

Special Coordinator of the OPCW-U.N. Joint Mission Sigrid Kaag said even the completion of Phase I of the Mission is miraculous, as the conflict in Syria is still ongoing, putting Mission personnel at risk of catching crossfire.

"When you look at all these factors combined, this is actually a remarkable achievement that almost everything is now in country, it's been prepositioned, and it's already being used and the first movements could actually take place," Kaag said. "Security when it comes to access to sites, getting caught in crossfire, direct fire, indirect fire, is a concern for the mission."

OPCW Director-General Ahmet uzumcu also recently stated that the Joint Mission should be completed on time. Now that all of Syria's chemical weapons are located within the country, uzumcu said the Mission has all the necessary means to move the weapons through ground transportation.