(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) Sigrid Kaag, the Special Coordinator of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Nations (OPCW-UN) Joint Mission on Monday briefed the Security Council behind closed-doors via video link on the completion of the removal of the declared chemical weapons materials from Syria and the remaining steps ahead to destroy them at sea aboard a US ship, a Council diplomat said.
The move was praised by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his most recent report to the Council as a "key milestone" and a "significant achievement" towards the elimination of Syria's chemical weapons programme.
Ban said this success was made possible, among other things, by Syria's "commitment and constructive cooperation" towards fulfilling its obligations in this regard.
"It is now essential that every effort be made to achieve the full elimination of the chemical weapons programme of the Syrian Arab Republic at the very earliest opportunity, including the destruction of remaining production facilities and the resolution of any possible remaining technical discrepancies in the original declaration," he stressed.
The diplomat also said that "successor arrangements" will need to be worked out once the Joint Mission ceases to exist.
Ban took the opportunity to express his appreciation to all Member States that have provided significant funds and in-kind contributions towards the elimination programme, and in particular those that contribute to the maritime component of operations at a significant cost and over an extended period, as they now proceed to the final phase of the operation - the destruction of the material.
The whole operation was meant to finish by June 30 deadline, as per Security Council resolution 2118, but because of security reasons cited by Damascus, the destruction phase has been delayed and will now take a few more weeks to carry out.