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Joint work with the Syrian authorities has begun on securing the sites where the team will operate.In addition, planning continues for one of the team's immediate tasks, disabling Syria's chemical weapons production facilities, which should begin soon."
The 41-member executive council of the OPCW passed the agreement in meetings that ran past midnight. "It's done and dusted," spokesman Michael Luhan to Reuters. "It passed by consensus."
An OPCW official told Reuters an advance team would head for Syria on Monday.
The OPCW Executive Council today adopted a historic decision on the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons.
In a special session, the 41-member body agreed on an accelerated programme for achieving the complete elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons by mid-2014. The decision requires inspections in Syria to commence from 1 October 2013.
The decision also calls for ambitious milestones for destruction which will be set by the Council by 15 November.
The Executive Council decision was informed by the Framework Agreement reached by the Russian Federation and the United States of America in Geneva on 14 September. It also facilitates the request by Syria that the Convention be applied ahead of its formal entry into force for Syria on 14 October.
The OPCW Director-General warmly welcomed the decision by the Council. He assured States Parties of the Technical Secretariat’s readiness to commence its work in Syria immediately.
“This decision sends an unmistakable message that the international community is coming together to work for peace in Syria, beginning with the elimination of chemical weapons in that country.”
“I assure the Council that I and my colleagues are ready to take up this historic responsibility. A few days ago, I stated that we approach this mission with a sense of destiny. What this means is that we will not allow the significant challenges to obscure the vision of peace and security that is embedded in this noble undertaking.”
“We have known all along that an OPCW mission of this extraordinary character will require the support of the United Nations. I look forward to working closely with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr Ban Ki-moon.”