September 21, 2013
Syria gave details of some of its chemical weapons to the OPCW arms watchdog at The Hague on Friday, but needs to fill in gaps by next week to launch a rapid disarmament operation that may avert U.S. air strikes.
At the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the UN-backed agency which is to oversee the removal of President Bashar Assad’s arsenal, a spokeswoman said: “We have received part of the verification and we expect more.”
She did not say what was missing from a document one UN diplomat described as “quite long.” The OPCW’S 41-member Executive Council is due to meet early next week to review Syria’s inventory and to agree on implementing last week’s U.S.-Russian deal to eliminate the entire arsenal in nine months.
The timetable was set down by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov a week ago in Geneva when they set aside sharp differences over Syria to agree on a plan to deprive Assad of chemical weapons and so remove the immediate threat from Washington of launching military action.