OPCW-U.N. team awaits next decision by OPCW Executive Council

The joint mission in Syria awaits a major decision on November 15 before it continues to destroy Syria's chemical weapons, the special coordinator of the mission said on Thursday.

Sigrid Kaag, the special coordinator of the OPCW-U.N. Joint Mission, spoke with the U.N. News Centre on Thursday about the latest developments in Syria. The mission confirmed last week that Syria destroyed critical chemical weapons production equipment and met a deadline set by the OPCW Executive Council to complete the destruction of such equipment by Friday.

Kaag said the next step for the mission will come after a decision by the council on November 15, by which time the council must approve a detailed plan of destruction submitted by Syria to eliminate the country's chemical weapons stockpile.

"We're waiting of course for the big discussion and decision by the Executive Council on (November 15)," Kaag said. "In the meantime, we are preparing internally as a joint mission, making sure that we are fit for purpose, that we have a good understanding of the requirements in order to ensure effective implementation of the plan. And of course we are very committed to help the government as a State Party meet its obligations under the [Chemical Weapons] Convention, and therefore, ensure the completion of the chemical weapons programme by the ultimate stated deadline of the middle of 2014."

When asked what will happen to the weapons now, Kaag said that would be part of the ongoing discussions within the framework agreed upon between the U.S. and Russia. She said in normal conditions, the weapons would be destroyed in Syria.

"However, as we know, the conditions in Syria are such that different options would be explored," Kaag said.