UN: Syria eliminated 90 pct of chemical weapons

NEW YORK (CIHAN)- The president of the UN Security Council Syria told reporters today (23 Apr) that Syria has eliminated almost 90 percent of its chemical weapons.

Speaking outside of the Security Council, the Nigerian ambassador Joy Ogwu explained that in a closed meeting the Council members were briefed via video by Special Coordinator of the joint mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Sigrid Kaag.

Ogwu said “she informed the Council that Syria had removed or destroyed in-country approximately 88 percent of the chemical weapons. She described the renewed pace in movements as positive and necessary to ensure progress towards meeting the June 2014 deadline. Kaag has noted that should the same momentum be sustained Syria could complete the removal operations in the coming days.”

The president of the Security UN body also said that “Council members expressed grave concern about alleged reports of the use of chlorine gas in some towns, which left people dead and injured and called for an investigation of this incident.”

Also speaking to the press, the Syrian ambassador Bashar Ja’afari said that “the Syrian government denies categorically the use of the chlorine gas by the Syrian government or by any military units operating under the umbrella of the Syrian Army.”

He underlined “we are now a full-fledged member of the OPCW. We are working very seriously with the United Nations, as you know, to respect the agreement signed between the Syrian government and the OPCW with regard exporting the entire Syrian stockpiles of chemicals.”

Ja’afari stressed “the aim of these kinds of allegations emanating from Washington or elsewhere is to overshadow the successful preparations for the presidential elections in Syria.”

Asked whether having presidential elections contradicts the Geneva agenda, he said “these are two tracks totally different. Organizing presidential elections is a sovereign domestic matter for all members States in this Organization. Nobody should interfere in this issue. It’s a sovereign matter enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations as well as in the principles of international law.”

He added “no one should interfere in this regard. Geneva Talks have a different aim, a different goal, it’s about establishing a Syrian national dialogue, conducted by the Syrian themselves without any foreign interference. This point some people don’t get it yet. They should get it. Geneva Talks has nothing to do with presidential elections.”

On Monday (21 Apr), the Syrian government announced that the elections will be held on 3 June.

The UN urged the Syrian authorities not to hold presidential elections amidst the ongoing conflict and massive displacement of people and for considering such elections as incompatible with the letter and spirit of the Geneva communiqué.

SHOTLIST: 23 APRIL 2014, NEW YORK CITY RECENT
RECENT, NEW YORK CITY
Exterior United Nations headquarters

UN Security Council president walking to stakeout position
lose up, camera

SOUNDBITE (English) U. Joy Ogwu, Permanent Representative of the Federal Republic of Nigeria:
“She informed the Council that Syria had removed or destroyed in-country approximately 88 percent of the chemical weapons. She described the renewed pace in movements as positive and necessary to ensure progress towards meeting the June 2014 deadline. Kaag has noted that should the same momentum be sustained Syria could complete the removal operations in the coming days.”

SOUNDBITE (English) U. Joy Ogwu, Permanent Representative of the Federal Republic of Nigeria:
“Council members expressed grave concern about alleged reports of the use of chlorine gas in some towns, which left people dead and injured and called for an investigation of this incident.”

UN Security Council president walks away from stakeout position
SOUNDBITE (English) Bashar Ja’afari, Permanent Representative of Syria to the United Nations:
“The Syrian government denies categorically the use of the chlorine gas by the Syrian government or by any military units operating under the umbrella of the Syrian Army. Out of the question. We are now a full-fledged member of the OPCW. We are working very seriously with the United Nations, as you know, to respect the agreement signed between the Syrian government and the OPCW with regard exporting the entire Syrian stockpiles of chemicals. So, the aim of these kinds of allegations emanating from Washington or elsewhere is to overshadow the successful preparations for the presidential elections in Syria.”

SOUNDBITE (English) Bashar Ja’afari, Permanent Representative of Syria to the United Nations:
“These are two tracks totally different. Organizing presidential elections is a sovereign domestic matter for all members States in this Organization. Nobody should interfere in this issue. It’s a sovereign matter enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations as well as in the principles of international law. So, no one should interfere in this regard. Geneva Talks have a different aim, a different goal, it’s about establishing a Syrian national dialogue, conducted by the Syrian themselves without any foreign interference. This point some people don’t get it yet. They should get it. Geneva Talks has nothing to do with presidential elections.”

lose up, journalist typing cellphone

Bashar Ja’afari walks away from stakeout position

SOURCE: CIHAN