Syria's weapons may be destroyed outside country

THE HAGUE, Netherlands, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Destroying parts of Syria's chemical weapons program outside the country is the best option, given national security challenges, a top weapons inspector said.

Ahmet Uzumcu, director general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, who issued a report Tuesday at the mission's headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands, said the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad has cited "practical challenges" involved in destroying the stockpile within Syria, given the national security situation in the country.


Uzumcu said the Syrian government submitted to it a plan for the destruction of its chemical weapons arsenal.

"I have reviewed the submission closely and have concluded that the proposal by Syria that destruction of chemical weapons be carried out outside its territory constitutes the most viable option available," he said in a statement.

The OPCW said last month it destroyed Syria's ability to manufacture chemical weapons at 21 of the 23 processing facilities disclosed by the government. The mission said inspectors couldn't reach the two remaining facilities because of security reasons.

The Syrian government said those two were inactive.

U.N. inspectors in Syria confirmed the nerve agent sarin was used in combat in August. The inspectors were not mandated to assess blame for the attack.


The director said the OPCW needs to establish by Nov. 15 a detailed set of requirements needed for the "complete elimination" of Syria's chemical weapons arsenal, a goal set for the middle of next year.

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