2nd chemical weapons team heading for Syria - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

2nd chemical weapons team heading for Syria

Posted: Updated:
Photo Credit: MGNOnline.com Photo Credit: MGNOnline.com

By MIKE CORDER
Associated Press

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) - The chief of the global chemical weapons watchdog said Tuesday the organization is sending a second team of inspectors to Syria to expand its high-stakes, high-risk mission to rid Syria of its poison gas stockpile.

Ahmet Uzumcu, director-general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, spoke to the group's 41-nation Executive Council at the start of a four-day meeting in The Hague. The organization's inspectors are in Syria to verify and destroy the country's estimated 1,000 tons of chemical weapons, in the midst of a two-year civil war.

Uzumcu called initial Syrian cooperation with the team last week - providing more detail of the country's chemical weapons and beginning to destroy them and facilities to produce them - "a constructive beginning for what will nonetheless be a long and difficult process," according to an OPCW statement.

An advance team of 35 OPCW and U.N. staff originally traveled to Damascus last week. Some OPCW staff have already returned to the organization's headquarters to report on their talks with officials from President Bashar Assad's regime in Damascus.

Uzumcu said he will soon sign an agreement between the OPCW and the United Nations to provide security and logistics to the inspection teams.

In Damascus, ruling Baath party lawmaker Walid al-Zoubi said the chemical weapons "have become a heavy burden on the state and are not a strategic defensive stock anymore" and the country is ready to dispose of them.

"Our defensive strategic reserve is much stronger than the chemicals," al-Zoubi told The Associated Press. "For this reason, Syria now has to get rid of this chemical inventory."

Uzumcu did not specify how many people would be in the second team, but in a letter to the U.N. Security Council obtained by The Associated Press, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recommended Monday that approximately 100 UN and OPCW staff eventually make up the mission.

He said that the international community's aim of destroying Syria's chemical weapons program by mid-2014 will require "an operation the likes of which, quite simply, have never been tried before," with greater operational and security risks because of the speed required.

____

Associated Press writers Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations, Albert Aji in Damascus and Barbara Surk in Beirut contributed to this report.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Vernon Parish Police Reports

    Vernon Parish Police Reports

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 11:38 AM EDT2014-04-22 15:38:16 GMT
    Sheriff Sam Craft of the Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office announces recent arrests as follows:More >>
    Sheriff Sam Craft of the Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office announces recent arrests as follows:More >>
  • Texas teen killed in freak SUV accident

    Texas teen killed in freak SUV accident

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 11:49 AM EDT2014-04-22 15:49:41 GMT
    ARLINGTON, Texas (CBS News) - A family is searching for answers after a teenage girl was killed after falling from a moving vehicle, CBS Dallas reported Monday.The incident occurred early Saturday after a group of friends had left a Dallas nightclub. Police said that 17-year-old Lelys Leyva-Monreal fell from the window of a moving SUV and was then struck by that vehicle.Friends and family members said that the group of friends -- including Leyva-Monreal and her boyfriend -- were driving home ...More >>
    ARLINGTON, Texas (CBS News) - A family is searching for answers after a teenage girl was killed after falling from a moving vehicle, CBS Dallas reported Monday.The incident occurred early Saturday after a group of friends had left a Dallas nightclub. Police said that 17-year-old Lelys Leyva-Monreal fell from the window of a moving SUV and was then struck by that vehicle.Friends and family members said that the group of friends -- including Leyva-Monreal and her boyfriend -- were driving home ...More >>
  • Teen driver arrested for vehicular homicide

    Teen driver arrested for vehicular homicide

    Monday, April 21 2014 11:41 PM EDT2014-04-22 03:41:45 GMT
    RAPIDES PARISH, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - On Monday, a single vehicle crash killed a woman from Holden, La. and injured a teenager.  The teenager driver is suspected of driving impaired and has been charged and booked, according to Louisiana State Police. More >>
    RAPIDES PARISH, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - On Monday, a single vehicle crash killed a woman from Holden, La. and injured a teenager.  The teenager driver is suspected of driving impaired and has been charged and booked, according to Louisiana State Police. More >>
Powered by WorldNow
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KALB. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.