China favours transporting Syrian chemical weapons material

United Nations, Jan 9: China is supporting the work of the UN and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to safely remove materials of chemical weapons from Syria, a Chinese envoy said here Wednesday.

“There has been new development in the shipping out chemical weapons material from Syria. China has been supportive in the process,” reported Xinhua citing Liu Jieyi, China’s permanent representative to the UN, telling reporters after the UN Security Council (UNSC) met to discuss the issue.

“We have sent a naval ship to escort the safe transport of these chemical weapons material for destruction,” Liu said. “China has also provided expertise to OPCW.”

“We have provided necessary equipment to the joint UN-OPCW mission to facilitate the transport and destruction of the chemical weapons in Syria.”

The UNSC adopted a resolution in September last year calling for the destruction of chemical weapons in Syria.

The first consignment of chemical weapons material left Syria Tuesday aboard a Danish vessel accompanied by naval escorts provided by China, Denmark, Norway and Russia.

While noting the cooperation from the Syrian government, Liu said “the situation remains volatile on the ground” and “there is still an enormous challenge posed to the process of destroying chemical weapons by the security situation and fighting in Syria.”

“We do hope that relevant sides will create an enabling environment for meeting the timetable as provided in the Security Council resolution for the destruction of chemical weapons,” said Liu.

In his statement, the Chinese envoy also called on all relevant sides to adhere to the date of the Geneva II conference, to be held later this month in Switzerland, saying that “we don’t see any other alternatives to the solution of the Syrian issue other than this political process”.

IANS