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Syria criticizes UNSC statement about slow pace of chemical weapons destruction

DAMASCUS, Feb 8 (KUNA) -- The Syrian government lashed out at the UN Security Council over its strong criticism over what the UNSC described as low pace of Syria's chemical weapons destruction process.
In two identical letters addressed to the UN Secretary General and President of the UNSC, the Syrian Foreign and Expatriates Ministry demanded an end to the politicization of Syrian chemical file.
"The press statement issued by the UNSC following its last session on February 6 on the Syrian chemical file said nothing about Syria's sustained and constructive cooperation with the joint mission that has been praised by UNSC member countries, the UN General Assembly, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), among others," read the letters.
It added Syria has come under an unfair campaign by some UNSC member countries, particularly the US and its allies, during a discussion of the Syrian chemical file in its February 6 session.
"These countries have strayed from the truth and the objective assessment of what Syria has accomplished in the context of implementing its obligations according to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)," the Ministry regretted.
"The unfair campaign coincided with the convening of Geneva II and the positive attitude of Syria towards it.
"This escalation; however, is clear indication of more pressure brought to bear on Syria with the intent of influencing Geneva II." The Ministry said that countries which criticize Syrian government has not got rid of their chemical weapons.
"Ten years behind schedule, the countries which accused Syria of not doing enough have not met their own commitments in eliminating their chemical stockpiles, knowing that they are not gripped by the security conditions facing Syria.
"Contrary to skepticism, Syria has been keen since day one to fulfill its obligations as stated by the Convention, the decisions of the executive council and the UNSC resolution No. 2118." The Syrian Foreign Ministry said that the armed groups' attacks as well as the lack of required equipment are the main causes behind the delay in the chemical weapons destruction.
"Armed groups have targeted the chemical weapons' sites and the trucks carrying them to Latakia Port, not even sparing the joint mission which received terrorist threats.
"To demand that Syria shoulders its responsibilities is intended to pull the wool over eyes; as Syria has clearly identified the challenges and problems besetting the transportation process ... All countries are cognizant of the challenges; namely the intricate security environment and the acute shortage of equipment necessary for packaging, loading and transportation," it pointed out.
The letters pointed out that Syria is exerting intensified efforts as it is poised to transport large amounts of chemical materials.
"The technical side in Syria is coordinating with the joint mission for ironing out difficulties and getting the process done within the time limit." The Ministry called on the international community to shoulder its responsibilities in helping Syria to overcome the serious challenges that would delay the transportation of chemical materials "instead of leveling unfair accusations and resorting to cheap skepticism against the Syrian government." On February 6, the UNSC announced that "limited quantities" of chemical weapons material were eliminated from Syria on 7th and 27th January by ship, but it voiced "growing concern at the slow pace" of their removal.
Under the US and Russia-brokered agreement Syria was meant to remove all its most critical chemical weapons material to Latakia for destruction outside the country by 31 December of last year. Less critical elements are to be destroyed within the country, all by 30 June.
The 15-member body called upon Syria to "expedite actions to meet its obligations to transport in a systematic and sufficiently accelerated manner all the relevant materials to Latakia ... and to intensify its efforts to expedite in-country movement," the Council President for February, Raimonda Murmokaite of Lithuania, told reporters afterwards. (end) tk.ibi KUNA 082146 Feb 14NNNN