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Mustard gas shipment leaves Syria

Feb. 27, 2014 at 10:23 AM

THE HAGUE, Netherlands, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- A U.N. mission charged with eliminating Syria's chemical weapons said it looked forward to timely progress after a shipment of mustard gas left the country.

Sigrid Kaaq, special coordinator for a joint United Nations mission with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, said the mission welcomed a step taken by Syria to ship mustard gas out of the country.

"The joint mission looks forward to the Syrian Arab Republic continuing its efforts to complete the removal of the remaining chemical materials in a safe, secure and timely manner, through systematic, predictable and high-volume movements," she said Wednesday.

The OPCW adopted a plan in November for the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles. By December, the group, which received last year's Nobel Peace Prize, said it destroyed parts of buildings used to manufacture weapons in the city of Homs that were rendered inoperable during previous missions.

Robert Mikulak, U.S. envoy to the OPCW, said in a January statement, however, the effort to get chemical agents and weapons precursors out of Syria "has seriously languished and stalled."

Finnish company Ekokem and Veolia Environmental Services Technical Solutions, a U.S. company, secured contracts for the transport, treatment and disposal of Syrian chemical components earlier this month.

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