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Chemical watchdog urges Syria to speed up weapons handover

Published on Jan 8, 2014 10:43 PM

THE HAGUE (AFP) - The world's chemical watchdog called on Wednesday for Syria to speed up operations to hand over its arsenal for destruction, after missing a key deadline.

"We are exhorting the Syrian government to intensify its efforts, so we can conclude this critical part of the mission absolutely as fast as the conditions allow," Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons spokesman Michael Luhan said.

The joint OPCW-UN mission said on Tuesday that a first cargo of chemicals had been brought to Syria's port of Latakia and transferred to a Danish vessel, although all Syria's most dangerous chemicals were supposed to have left the country by Dec 31.

So-called Priority One chemicals including mustard gas must all be destroyed by March 31.

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