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Meet the Dutch 'Iron Lady' destroying Syria's chemicals

Published on Jun 7, 2014 2:41 PM
Ms Sigrid Kaag, the head of the international mission overseeing the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons at the United Nations Headquarters in New York June 4, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - The diplomat ridding the world of Syria's chemical weapons is Ms Sigrid Kaag, a statuesque and impeccably dressed mother of four who speaks six languages and is fearless in a war zone.

For nine months she has led the international mission to destroy Damascus's declared chemical agents, braving mortar fire, jetting between the Middle East, Europe and New York, and liaising with Moscow, Washington and maritime fleets.

Syria may have missed deadlines but with 93 per cent of its declared chemical arsenal out of the country, Ms Kaag is responsible for the only glimmer of good news to emerge from the horror of a war that has killed more than 160,000.

Her star is in the ascendancy at UN headquarters, abuzz with praise for the woman who at UNICEF worked with Jordan's Queen Rania and once dreamed of becoming a singer.

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