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Safety

UN Will Oversee Weapons Destruction

by Glenn Hess
October 14, 2013 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 91, ISSUE 41

Nearly 100 chemical weapons experts will be deployed over the coming months in a mission to oversee the cataloging and destruction of Syria’s arsenal of chemical munitions, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said last week. In a letter to the UN Security Council, Ban said that by Nov. 1, specialists from the UN-affiliated Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons will supervise as Syria destroys all production, mixing, and filling equipment. In the next phase, which will run from Nov. 1 to June 30, 2014, the team will monitor and verify Syria’s destruction of “approximately 1,000 metric tons of chemical weapons, agents, and precursors that are dangerous to handle, dangerous to transport, and dangerous to destroy.” Given the complexities, Ban noted, it is highly probable that other countries will have to provide technical and operational advice, support, and equipment to complete the work within the tight time frame. Because of potential health and environmental risks from the destruction of chemical weapons and related materials, the World Health Organization will provide guidance on public health issues, according to Ban’s letter.

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