Tag Archive: chemical weapons

Deadline Passed

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Wednesday the 5th February was supposed to be the date by which Syria finally got rid of all their chemical weapons, yet reports released this week suggest that just over a tenth of the actual amount has gone.

11 per cent was the official figure given by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in regard to the quantity of weapons which have so far been removed from the war-ravished country.

After missing the first deadline in December, the February date seemed to simply pass by with the next June date looking ever more unrealistic.

EXCAVATE: Chemical weapons are being taken out of Syria at too slow of a rate, with another deadline passing last week

EXCAVATE: Chemical weapons are being taken out of Syria at too slow of a rate, with another deadline passing last week

With so many country’s now involved with Syria, the point of blame has often been passed around. Amy Smithson, a chemical weapons expert at the US Monterey Institute, told Reuters she believed that the unrest in the country could be settled sooner if other countries worked together.

She said: “The odds of Syrian compliance increase if Washington and Moscow speak with one voice, but that isn't happening at present.

“These two countries are both key to the potential success of chemical disarmament in Syria, not to mention a settlement to the overall conflict, so hopefully they will rapidly find a way to resolve this impasse.”

The international community has invested facilities and money into the program yet for many experts not enough is being done by Syrian officials to hurry up the procedure.

US Ambassador to the OPCW, Robert Mikulak, demanded immediate action be taken to get the weapons out of the country and believes that the resources are there to get the program moving.

“Syria has said that its delay in transporting these chemicals has been caused by 'security concerns' and insisted on additional equipment - armored jackets for shipping containers, electronic countermeasures, and detectors for improvised explosive devices,” he said.

“These demands are without merit, and display a ‘bargaining mentality’ rather than a ‘security mentality’.”

Georgy Mirsky, a Middle East expert at the Institute of the World Economy and International Relations in Moscow, struggled to defend Russia’s position in the affair, as the country is the biggest supporter of the current regime.

He said: “If it appears now that it was all in vain - that chemical weapons will remain in Syria and that Bashar al-Assad is pulling a fast one - it will be President Putin who will be in a very bad situation indeed.”

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There’s no stopping him

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A civil war, use of chemical weapons, and more than 100,000 deaths in three years are just some of the issues currently being faced by controversial Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, yet that doesn’t seem to deter the country’s leader from standing for re-election next year.

Mr Assad has been at the centre of some of the biggest debates of the year, yet a senior Syrian official has now warned that nobody has the right to stand in the way of a second term in office for the 48-year-old.

In an interview with AFP, Syria Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Muqdad was responding to comments made from allied Russian officials criticising another term in office for the current leader.

“Nobody has the right to interfere and say he must run or he should not run,” Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Muqdad said.

LEADER: President Bashar al-Assad will hold peace talks with a host of delegates in January 2014

LEADER: President Bashar al-Assad will hold peace talks with a host of delegates in January 2014

“President Assad in my opinion should be a candidate but he will decide when the time comes for him to decide.

“I shall ask the opposition: why a Syrian national does not have the right to be a candidate? Who can prevent him? Any Syrian national can be candidate. The ballot boxes will decide who will lead Syria.”

Russia earlier on Thursday issued rare criticism of its ally Assad over the presidential election scheduled for next year.

“Exchanging such rhetorical statements just makes the atmosphere heavier and does not make the situation calmer,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said.

Mr Bogdanov added that Mr Assad, and all parties, should not do anything hasty before peace talks in Switzerland in January are commenced, which are aimed at ending the conflict which has been raging in Syria since 2011.

SUPPORT: Syria Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Muqdad spoke of his belief that President Assad should stand for another term in office

SUPPORT: Syria Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Muqdad spoke of his belief that President Assad should stand for another term in office

Mr Muqdad responded by explaining how his country has formed a nine-member delegation supported by five advisers to take part in the so-called Geneva-2 peace talks brokered by the United States and Russia.
“We are ready by all means and will announce the names of our delegation very quickly,” he said.

“We shall see the results of the discussions because the Americans are given the task of establishing an opposition delegation. The Americans are expected to give the names tomorrow.”

Muqdad also had harsh words for Saudi Arabia, which has supported rebels fighting to oust Assad.

“I think that if the world wants to avoid another 11 September incident, they must start telling Saudi Arabia ‘enough is enough’,” he said.

“Saudi Arabia should be put on the list of countries supporting terrorism,” said Muqdad, while rejecting opposition to the participation at the peace talks for Syria's ally Iran.

Mr Muqdad said: “It’s a tragedy that the French and the Americans are insisting that Iran will not attend while Saudi Arabia which is destroying Syria will attend...It is absolutely unacceptable.”

The peace talks are set to begin on the 22nd January 2014.

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