Syria Said to Be Forthcoming in Preparing for Weapons Inspectors

Syrian authorities have been efficient in preparations for the team of inspectors of the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, or OPCW, that will arrive in Damascus Oct. 1.

The cooperation from the Syrians was forthcoming and there is no reason to doubt their intentions, OPCW officials, who asked not to identified for security reasons, told reporters today in The Hague. A team of about 20 OPCW staff will travel to Damascus tomorrow and will meet Syrian authorities the following day, the officials said.

The United Nations Security Council Sept. 28 unanimously approved a breakthrough agreement to eliminate all of Syria’s chemical weapons. The Security Council voted after the Executive Council of OPCW, the world body in The Hague that monitors compliance with a global treaty banning the munitions, adopted a blueprint to verify, remove, and destroy Assad’s arsenal of sarin and other chemical weapons by mid-2014.

The time line for the team is “challenging” while security on the ground is an issue, the officials said.

“This decision sends an unmistakable message that the international community is coming together to work for peace in Syria, beginning with the elimination of chemical weapons in that country,” OPCW Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu said in a statement Sept. 28 following the adoption of the UN blueprint.

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