U.S. concerned Syria will not meet chemical destruction deadline

The U.S. State Department expressed concern on Tuesday that Syria dragged its feet on removing chemicals and will fail to meet the June 30 deadline of removing all its chemical weapons.

Robert Mikulak, the U.S. permanent representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), made the remarks before the OPCW Executive Council in Washington. Mikulak said Syria has missed multiple deadlines since the effort began in September to remove and destroy the country's chemical weapons. He said Syria squandered many months that could have been used to fulfill its obligations.

"It was certainly the expectation of the United States and other members of the council that the elimination of Syria's entire chemical weapons program would be completed by June 30, 2014," Mikulak said. "Regrettably, a substantial amount of work remains; Syria has deliberately frustrated the council's efforts to complete destruction by June 30. The council will need to acknowledge that Syria has not met its obligations to remove these dangerous materials so that they can be destroyed."

Mikulak also brought up the allegations of chemical weapons use coming out of Syria in recent weeks. He said the U.S. is concerned that the Syrian government was behind the chemical attacks.

"The eyes of the world have been upon the OPCW and this council since last September, and will remain on us until we have truly finished what we started and Syria has met its CWC obligations," Mikulak said. "The council must consider how best to advance its original mandate on this subject - the complete elimination of the Syrian chemical weapons program."