EU use of frozen funds for WMD irks Syria

Feb. 12, 2014 at 12:16 PM
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DAMASCUS, Syria, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- A European Union move to use funds frozen by sanctions to help pay for elimination of chemical weapons is illegal, the Syrian government said.

A source in the Syrian Foreign Ministry was quoted in the official Syrian Arab News Agency as saying a plan endorsed Monday by EU foreign ministers is "a flagrant violation of the international law."

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is operating under a U.N. mandate to rid Syria of its chemical weapons arsenal.

SANA's source said the EU action violates the OPCW's charter.

"The Foreign Ministry condemns this European selective step and calls on the EU to immediately lift the immoral sanctions imposed on Syria," the source added.

The OPCW said Monday a shipment of chemical weapons was removed from Syria onboard a Norwegian cargo vessel accompanied by a multilateral military escort. The OPCW said it was calling on Syria to "expedite systematic, predictable and high-volume movements to complete the safe removal of chemical materials."

The OPCW adopted a plan in November for the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles. Monday's shipment was the third since OPCW operations began, though Syria was told by OPCW directors to "pick up [the] pace."

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