Syria chemical deadline 'unlikely' to be met: UN
(AFP) - Syria is "unlikely" to meet a Dec 31 deadline to move its most dangerous chemical arms out of the country, the United Nations acknowledged for the first time on Saturday, Dec 28, 2013.
The UN and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said "important progress" has been made on eliminating Syria's banned weapons, but called on President Bashar al-Assad's government to "intensify efforts" to meet internationally-set deadlines.
The year-end deadline was the first key milestone under a UN Security Council-backed deal arranged by Russia and the United States that aims to wipe out all of Syria's chemical arms by the middle of 2014.
"Preparations continue in readiness for the transport of most of the critical chemical material from the Syrian Arab Republic for outside destruction. However, at this stage, transportation of the most critical chemical material before Dec 31 is unlikely," said a joint UN-OPCW statement.