Syria misses United Nations deadline
Syria missed the December 31 deadline for the removal of part of its chemical weapons arsenal for destruction. Syria had been due to turn over some of the deadliest chemicals in its arsenal to ships by the end of the year, for delivery to a US boat which is to destroy them at sea.
But Norwegian and Danish vessels that had been waiting off the Syrian coast returned to port in Cyprus on Monday as it became clear the mission would not go ahead as scheduled.
Lars Hovtun, a spokesman for the Norwegian ship HNoMS Helge Ingstad, gave no new date for the mission to escort the dangerous cargo out of Syria.
We are still on high alert to go into Syria, he said. We still dont know exactly when the orders will come.
The international disarmament mission in Syria has acknowledged it is unlikely the weapons can be transported to Latakia port in time for the December 31 deadline.
|Don't hold your breath Lars...|
But the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons remained positive, saying the overall plan to rid Syria of its chemical arsenal was on track.
An enormous amount of work has been accomplished in three months, OPCW spokesman Christian Chartier said.
|Of course they're positive. It's their rice bowl...|
Syrias chemical arsenal has been completely neutralised, the chemical agents and chemical products are under international control, have been sealed... The effective dismantling of the production and filling plants is on course.
Their capacity to produce and use chemical weapons has been reduced to zero.
Chartier said the operation was still on track to meet a deadline to rid Syria of its chemical arsenal by mid-2014. Nevertheless, the head of the disarmament mission, Sigrid Kaag, called on all parties including Damascus to intensify efforts to destroy Syrias chemical arsenal within the timetable.
|Until they do, and then you'll wring your hands and lament that you missed a site. That'll do the dead folks a lot of good...|
Kaag said the delay was the result of various obstacles and underlined the complexity of dismantling a chemical weapons programme in an active war zone.
|Sort of like running a national health insurance scheme only with the addition of bullets...|
Posted by: Steve White 2014-01-02