11:01 GMT11 April 2021
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    The country's deputy foreign minister said that the delays in demolishing Syria's chemical weapons arsenal are caused by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The delays in liquidation of Syria's chemical weapon arsenal is the fault of the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), not Damascus, the Syrian deputy foreign minister told Russian reporters on Thursday.

    In February, the OPCW warned that it may take until September to complete the destruction of chemical weapon production facilities, and the organization would miss its original June deadline.

    "The delay is not our fault, but the fault of the United Nations and certain parties that are members of the OPCW. We hope to destroy the [chemical weapon production] facilities as soon as possible, but there is no specific date yet," Faisal Mekdad said.

    He added that weapon manufacturing facilities, including three hangars and one tunnel, had been demolished so far. Eight more facilities are on the waiting list to be destroyed, after which, Syrian chemical weapons will be said to be completely eliminated.

    In September 2013, Russia and the United States struck a deal to destroy Syria's chemical arsenal, following a sarin gas strike near Damascus that killed several hundred people. The Syrian government and various rebel groups trade blame for the attack.

    The UN-affiliated OPCW has been tasked with demolishing the 12 chemical weapon production facilities in the country.

    At the end of October 2014, the OPCW reported that nearly 98 percent of the chemical weapons removed from Syria had been destroyed.


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    chemical weapons, Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), United Nations, Faisal Mekdad, Syria
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