OPCE Executive Council to meet on Syria Sept 22

THE HAGUE, (PNA/Itar-Tass) — The Executive Council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will meet on September 22 to discuss ways to implement the Russian-U.S. framework agreement for the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons stocks.

The decision, to be adopted by the OPCW Executive Council shortly, should mark the start of work to implement the Russian-U.S. framework agreement for the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons, which was reached in Geneva last week.

Russia hopes that the draft resolution of the U.N. Security Council on the transfer of Syria’s chemical weapons to the international community will draw on the framework agreement reached by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at their talks in Geneva last week, Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said.

“Our French colleagues are working on the draft together with the Americans and British. I hope that the draft will draw on what was agreed in Geneva and will not contain the elements they sometimes impart in public statements,” he said.

Churkin believes that the document should support the plan for putting Syria’s chemical weapons under U.N. control to be approved by the OPCW. The organization may adopt its decision at the nearest meeting of the Board of Directors this Friday, September 20.

The framework agreement on the elimination of chemical weapons in Syria, which was reached by Lavrov and Kerry at their consultations in Geneva, lays out the principles for the decision document to be adopted by the OPCW Executive Council.

The decision should address the extraordinary character of the situation with the Syrian chemical weapons.

The decision should take into account the deposit by Syria of the instrument of accession to the CWC.

The decision should provide for the easy accessibility for States Parties of the information submitted by Syria.

The decision should specify which initial information Syria shall submit to the OPCW Technical Secretariat in accordance with a tightly fixed schedule and also specifies an early date for submission of the formal CWC declaration.

The decision should oblige Syria to cooperate fully on all aspects of its implementation.

The decision should address a schedule for the rapid destruction of Syrian chemical weapons capabilities. This schedule should take into account the following target dates:

– Completion of initial OPCW on-site inspections of declared sites by November.

– Destruction of production and mixing/filling equipment by November.

– Complete elimination of all chemical weapons material and equipment in the first half of 2014.

The shortest possible final deadline, as well as intermediate deadlines, for the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons capabilities should be included into the schedule.

– The decision should provide stringent special verification measures, beginning within a few days, including a mechanism to ensure the immediate and unfettered right to inspect any and all sites.

– The decision should address the issue of duties of the OPCW Technical Secretariat in this situation and its need for supplementary resources to implement the decision, particularly technical and personnel resources, and call upon states with relevant capacities to contribute to this end.

– The decision should refer to the provisions of the CWC obliging the Executive Council, in cases of non-compliance with the Convention, to bring the issues directly to the attention of the U.N. General Assembly and the U.N. Security Council.