UNITED NATIONS: The joint United Nations mission to oversee the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons’ stockpiles and production facilities has completed its mission.
The Joint Mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the UN (OPCW-UN) drew to a close on Tuesday.
“The work of the Joint Mission has been vital to the success of international efforts to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons programme,” OPCW Director-General, Ahmet Uzumcu said.
He called the Joint Mission “an excellent example of how practical cooperation between international organizations can achieve tangible results in disarmament.”
The UN Security Council formally approved the mission in October 2013.
The removal of the most critical material for destruction began in early January, in line with an agreement brokered by Russia and the United States, by which Syria renounced its chemical weapons material and joined 1992 Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons.
The removal of the chemical agents out of the country involved transporting them to the port of Latakia, where they were shipped on commercial vessels provided by some Member States.
They were then loaded onto a United States ship and destroyed at sea using hydrolysis.
The Joint Mission was headed by Special Coordinator Sigrid Kaag, whose “extraordinary efforts and leadership” were praised by Uzumcu.
The OPCW mission in Syria will continue to deal with the destruction of chemical weapon production facilities and clarification of certain aspects of the Syrian initial declaration.
The provision of safety, security and logistical support for the OPCW has transitioned to the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS), which has signed an agreement with the organization.