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Ki-Moon requests 'joint mission' to handle Syria's dangerous chemicals

February 3, 2014 at 11:09 am

On Monday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon called for setting up a “joint mission” consisting of 100 experts to carry out the dangerous operation to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons, AP reported.

In a report presented to the UN Security Council, Moon explained that the mission should jointly represent the UN and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. He noted that the main base of the field mission would be in Damascus and the other base would be in Cyprus.

According to AP, which received a copy of the report, Moon said: “This is the first ever mission of this kind in the long history of the two organisations.” He noted that there would be a special civil coordinator for the mission with the position of assistant secretary general.

The mission currently in Syria, which already started the work of dismantling Syria’s chemical stockpiles, consists of 20 experts. Moon told the UN Security Council in his report that while this team would continue to be the core of the prospective joint mission, the entire mission would include 100 experts.

Moon’s report expected that it would take such a joint mission at least one year to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons. At the same time, he did not hide his feelings that this would be a dangerous task as this is the first time such an operation is being carried out.

The Secretary General added: “The mission must cross past the front lines, and in some cases, it has to go through the areas controlled by armed groups which oppose the work of the mission.”

Regarding the amount of chemical stockpiles in Syria, Moon said: “It is about 1,000 tons and dealing with it and destroying it is dangerous.”

He added: “My two main priorities are: eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons and safeguarding the joint mission, whose members are volunteering to carry out the operation.”