Ban welcomes progress in removing Syrian chemical weapons

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomes the ongoing progress in the international effort to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons program, according to a statement on Tuesday from his spokesperson.

The statement came after the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the U.N. Joint Mission told Ban that further progress was made toward removing and eliminating Syria's chemical weapons program. The progress came when the first quantity of priority chemical weapons was moved from two sites to the port of Latakia to be verified and loaded onto a Danish cargo ship on Tuesday.

According to the U.N., once the chemical agents are removed from Syria, they will be loaded onto a U.S. ship and destroyed at sea using hydrolysis.

Ban commended the mission's special coordinator, Sigrid Kaag, and her team for their steadfast work in difficult circumstances.

Kaag said on Tuesday that the joint mission encourages Syria to keep up its efforts to remove chemical materials as quickly as possible in a safe and timely manner. She said the mission continues to coordinate with Syria and the other U.N. Member States to mobilize resources and engage in all necessary steps to completely remove and eliminate Syria's chemical weapons program.