MOSCOW, October 11 (RIA Novosti) – The UN Security Council has formally approved a first-ever joint mission of the United Nations and the global chemical weapons watchdog to oversee the elimination of Syria’s production facilities and stockpiles, the UN said on its website Friday.
In a letter to UN chief Ban Ki-moon, the council endorsed his plan to deploy up to 100 experts from the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in an operation to implement September’s UN resolution on the destruction of Syria’s chemical arsenal, a mission due to be completed by June 30, 2014.
Ban earlier this week suggested that a joint UN-OPCW mission, tasked with eliminating chemical weapons, be established in Syria.
International experts began eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons last week in accordance with a US-Russian plan to seize and destroy the stockpiles. The plan was approved in September 2013 by the OPCW and supported by a UN Security Council resolution.
More than two years of fighting between government and opposition forces in Syria has claimed the lives of more than 100,000 people, according to UN estimates.
In response to the Security Council’s approval of the joint mission, the UN secretary general said in a video message that he was “very pleased” that the 15-member body was so quick to fulfill his recommendation.