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Syrian chemicals to depart for Italy at end of April

Ship-to-ship transfer to take place at Gioia Tauro

06 March, 12:53
Syrian chemicals to depart for Italy at end of April (ANSA) - Rome, March 6 - A Danish cargo vessel that is to be used in a ship-to-ship transfer of Syrian chemical weapons in the southern Calabrian port of Gioia Tauro could depart for Italy at the end of April, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said Thursday. The estimated time-frame was based on the current rate at which Damascus is delivering its chemical arsenal for destruction under the terms of a November 2013 international accord. So far, 25% of the material destined for destruction outside the country has been loaded onto the Danish cargo ship Ark Futura and the Norwegian vessel Taiko at the main port of Latakia and at least two further consignments are expected this week. Once fully loaded, the Danish vessel will sail to Gioia Tauro where the weapons will be transferred to the American MV Cape Ray before being destroyed in international waters. The transfer will take place using special carriageways so the chemical weapons do not have to touch land.

On Wednesday the head of the joint United Nations-OPCW mission Sigrid Kaag said so far "about one third of Syrian chemical weapons and materials have been removed or destroyed".

Under the November agreement, all Syrian chemical weapons should be removed or destroyed by June 30.