The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) selected two US and Finnish companies to help destroy Syria's chemical arsenal. This is the part of an ambitious plan to destroy all the chemical arsenal of Syria by 30 June 2014 that has suffered a string of setbacks.
The two companies were chosen from 14 bids floated from around the world to destroy the remainder of the chemicals arsenal of Syria. Finland's company Ekokem and the US subsidiary of French company Veolia Environment would destroy chemical weapon ingredients as well as some effluent left over from destruction activities aboard a US ship.
Hydrolysis systems aboard the US ship Cape Ray are to mix the chemicals with heated water and other chemicals to break down the lethal agents, resulting in a sludge equivalent to industrial toxic waste.
Tenders to help destroy Syria's entire arsenal by 30 June 2014 deadline came from a wide-range of companies, including France's Airbus, China National Chemical Corporation, Switzerland's Dottikon and US-based Paragon Waste Solutions.
Syria has declared around 700 tonnes of most dangerous chemicals, 500 tonnes of less dangerous precursor chemicals and around 122 tonnes of isopropanol, which can be used to make sarin gas.
The OPCW and the United Nations are participating in a joint mission overseeing the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons programme under a UN resolution 2118 approved in August 2013.
The OPCW is the United Nation’s implementing body of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). The OPCW was established in 1997 and is headquartered at Hague, Netherlands. At present OPCW has 190 member countries.
The Four key functions of OPCW
• 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
When: 14 February 2014