Make me your Homepage
left corner left corner
China Daily Website

Damascus posts chemical arms plan

Updated: 2013-10-29 07:20
By Agencies in Beijing, Moscow and Amman, Jordan ( China Daily)

Syria has submitted a general plan for destroying its chemical weapons to a global watchdog before the deadline.

The move comes as preparations for the so-called Geneva II international meeting on Syria are underway.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said on Sunday that Syria has submitted an initial declaration of its chemical weapons program, including a general plan for destroying these weapons.

"Syria's submission is in line with the deadline set by the OPCW Executive Council in its decision of Sept 27, 2013, requiring a complete initial declaration by Oct 27, 2014," the organization said.

"Such declarations provide the basis on which plans are devised for a systematic, total and verified destruction of declared chemical weapons and production facilities."

The organization will help Syria destroy its chemical weapons by the middle of next year. More investigators will arrive in the strife-torn country by Friday.

As the Syrian government shows cooperation on the weapons issue, opposition groups are trying to boycott the second round of international peace talks in Geneva.

The first Geneva conference was held on June 30, 2012. It adopted a communique aimed at finding a diplomatic resolution to Syria's prolonged conflict.

The United Nations is "working hard" to convene the Geneva II meeting next month, while Russian and US diplomats are set to meet in early November to discuss preparations for the international conference.

Meanwhile, main rebel brigades have announced their opposition to Geneva II if it does not result in Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's removal, piling pressure on the political opposition not to attend.

"Any solution will be totally rejected if it does not end Assad's rule with all of its military and security pillars and if it does not hold accountable all those who took part in the state terrorism," said a statement dated Saturday and signed by some of the most formidable Islamist units fighting Assad.

Treason warned

"We consider attending Geneva II on any basis other than that mentioned above ... treason that requires trials by our courts," it said.

The declaration was signed by 22 mostly Islamist brigades, including Suqour al-Sham, al-Tawhid and Ahfad al-Rasul, which are seen as being backed by Qatar, as well as the Ahrar al-Sham Brigade, a major rebel force in eastern Syria, and the smaller al-Sahaba Brigades, which operates around Damascus.

Several officials, including Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby, have said they expect the conference to convene on Nov 23 in Geneva, although the US, Russia and the UN have said no date has been officially set.

The coalition is due to meet on Nov 9 to discuss taking a detailed position on Geneva, opposition sources say.

On Monday, Russia spoke out against the threat powerful rebel groups in Syria made against those who attend peace talks.

"It is outrageous that some of these extremist, terrorist organizations fighting government forces in Syria are starting to make threats ... against those who have the courage" to attend the Geneva II conference," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in televised comments.


 Damascus posts chemical arms plan

A Free Syrian Army fighter looks on as he launches a rocket in Aleppo on Sunday. A global watchdog said on Sunday that Syria submitted a plan to destroy its chemical weapons. Hamid Khatib / Reuters

(China Daily 10/29/2013 page11)