Obama praises destruction of Syrian chemical weapons

President Barack Obama on Monday hailed the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons by the M/V Cape Ray.

Obama praised the U.S. civilian and military professionals who completed the task weeks ahead of schedule.

"This is a major milestone in the international community's efforts under the leadership of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to rid the Syrian regime of its chemical weapons," Obama said. "It further advances our collective goal to ensure that the Asad regime cannot use its chemical arsenal against the Syrian people and sends a clear message that the use of these abhorrent weapons has consequences and will not be tolerated by the international community."

Obama specifically expressed his gratitude to the United Nations-OPCW Joint Mission that aided in the destruction of the stockpiles. The president specifically named Joint Mission Special Coordinator Sigrid Kaag and OPCW Director General Uzumcu in his thanks.

Obama also noted contributions from a variety of European countries, as well as the assistance of Russia and China.

"Going forward, we will watch closely to see that Syria fulfills its commitment to destroy its remaining declared chemical weapons production facilities," Obama said. "In addition, serious questions remain with respect to the omissions and discrepancies in Syria's declaration to the OPCW and about continued allegations of use."