Syria on track to meet chemical weapons disposal goals

Syria has removed or destroyed approximately 80 percent of its chemical weapons material as of April 19, according to the head of the Joint Mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Nations.

Special Coordinator of the OPCW-UN Joint Mission Sigrid Kaag said that the momentum for removal and destruction is expected to continue, with complete removal operations concluding in the near future.

The destruction will contribute to meeting deadlines set by the OPCW Executive Council, including a June 30 target date for completing the destruction of Syria's entire chemical weapons program.

"The renewed pace in movements is positive and necessary to ensure progress towards a tight deadline," Kaag said.

Kaag added that Syria has also completed destruction of empty mustard gas containers and made progress toward closing chemical weapons production and storage sites.

Syria's weapons disposal work began in January following an agreement brokered by the United States and Russia that saw Syria renounce its chemical weapons material and join the 1992 Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons.