The OPCW-UN Joint Mission on 20 March 2014 declared that almost half of the stockpile of chemical weapons of Syria has been removed.
In its notification, OPCW said that the latest consignments of the most dangerous chemicals have been loaded on the cargo vessel at Latakia. These consignments also included all of Syria’s Sulphur mustard.
The chemical arsenal of Syria will be transported further for destruction under the verification of OPCW inspectors from the storage sites.
Cumulative figures of the chemical weapons of Syria as per OPCW are
• Priority 1 chemicals removed: 34.8 percent
• Priority 2 chemicals removed: 82.6 percent
•Total chemicals removed: 49.3 percent
As per the plan, the majority of Priority 1 chemicals would be neutralised at sea aboard the US vessel MV Cape Ray and smaller amount of them will also be neutralized at a land-based facility in Ellesmere Port, UK.
The Priority 2 chemicals will be destroyed at commercial facilities in the US and Finland. A facility in Germany will dispose of part of the effluent from the Cape Ray operations.
OPCW has declared 30 June 2014 as a deadline to complete the destruction of Syria’s entire chemical weapons programme.
Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is an implementation body of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which came into effect in 1997. At present it has 190 Member States, who are working together with an aim to achieve world free from chemical weapons. The collective goal of the organisation and its member states is to prevent chemistry from being used for warfare; overall it has strengthened the international security.
The Convention contains four key provisions
• Destroying all existing chemical weapons under international verification by the OPCW
• Monitoring chemical industry to prevent new weapons from re-emerging
• Providing assistance and protection to States Parties against chemical threats
• Fostering international cooperation to strengthen implementation of the Convention and promote the peaceful use of chemistry
UN and OPCW for the first time reached to the Relationship Agreement in 2000 and entered into force in 2001. The Relationship Agreement was approved by the OPCW Conference of the States Parties in decision on 17 May 2001 and by the United Nations General Assembly in resolution A/RES/55/283 on 7 September 2001.
None members of OPCW are
• Israel and Myanmar are the signatory states since 1993. They are not a member because these signatory states have not been ratified by the Chemical Weapons Convention
• Angola, Egypt, North Korea and South Sudan are four nations that have neither signed nor acceded to the Chemical Weapons Convention