Syria sends initial declaration on weapons program to OPCW

Syria sends initial declaration on weapons program to OPCW

PanARMENIAN.Net - The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons says it has received an "initial declaration" from Syria outlining its weapons program, the Associated Press reports.

Spokesman Michael Luhan told the AP on Friday, Sept 20, that the declaration is "being reviewed by our verification division." Luhan said the organization will not release details of what is in the declaration.

The organization is looking at ways to fast-track moves to secure and destroy Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles and production facilities.

Meanwhile, according to a Guardian report, the OPCW said the information wasn't up to its requirements and indefinitely postponed the Sunday meeting to discuss a Russia-U.S. plan to destroy Syria's arsenal.

France, the UK and the U.S. have yet to agree on a firm timeline for the Security Council to act, only on the need to do so as soon as possible after the chemical weapons organization’s decision in The Hague, according to a second UN diplomat who also asked not to be identified discussing the deliberations.

After action by the 41-member executive council of the OPCW, a Security Council resolution will be needed to override some provisions of the international Chemical Weapons Convention to allow an effort to find, transport and dismantle chemical arms in the middle of a civil war.

The chemical arms agency's decision must be approved by a simple majority of council members, though agreement is almost always reached through a consensus, which is expected in Syria's case. The council meets behind closed doors, but may be open to observer countries that are not yet members. Syria is not yet a full member, the Guardian says.

As soon as the OPCW decision is made, the full UN Security Council will begin negotiations on a resolution intended to support the OPCW Executive Council's decision. The five permanent UN Security Council members have been negotiating for several days on a draft resolution.

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