The head of the Joint Mission on Tuesday said that the progress of the mission's progress in the destruction of Syria's stockpiles of chemical weapons was made due to "quick and construction collaboration" from Damascus.
Sigrid Kaag, the special coordinator of the Joint Mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the United Nations, made the statement as she was speaking to reporters here after she briefed the UN Security Council on the international efforts to rid the war-torn Syria of chemical weapons.
"We benefited from Syria's quick and constructive collaboration, " she said, referring to the progress that the Joint Mission has made on the ground.
The Joint Mission, which was established in order to achieve the timely elimination of the Syrian chemical weapons Program in the safest and most secure manner possible, will continue the work undertaken by an OPCWUN advance team in Syria since the beginning of this month.
Kaag, a Dutch national, was appointed in mid-October by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to head the Joint Mission, which officially began its work on Oct. 16 overseeing the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles and production facilities.
Meanwhile, "on the local level, the contact is going on with rebels" in Syria for cooperation with the Joint Mission, Kaag said without giving more details in this regard.
Syria has destroyed or rendered inoperable all of its declared chemical weapons production and mixing facilities, meeting a major deadline in an ambitious disarmament program, the OPCW, which won the Nobel Peace prize last month, said on Oct. 31, adding that its teams had inspected 21 out of 23 chemical weapons sites across the Middle East country.
The other two were too dangerous to inspect, but the chemical equipment had already been moved to other sites that experts had visited, it said.
Syria had met a major deadline in the process of destroying Syria's chemical arms arsenals, which is supposed to be completed by June, according to a timeline laid down by the OPCW and a relevant UN Security Council resolution.
By Nov. 15, the OPCW and Syria must agree to a detailed plan of destruction, including how and where to destroy more than 1,000 metric tonnes of toxic agents and munitions.
Vitaly Churkin, the Russian permanent representative to the United Nations, told reporters after the closed council meeting that the 15-nation council had a "very useful discussion" with Kaag on the work of the Joint Mission, voicing his hope to see an early report from the OPCW-UN team.
Acknowledging "significant progress" in the ongoing process of removing Syria's chemical weapons, Samantha Power, the US permanent representative to the United Nations, said, "There is nothing to celebrate" at this moment.
"The progress will not change the US position on Assad," she said, referring to the US policy that Washington hopes to see the exit of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as part of its version of a political transition in Syria.