Syria won’t meet chemical deadline

AFP-JIJI

Syria is “unlikely” to meet Tuesday’s deadline to move its most dangerous chemical arms out of the country, the United Nations acknowledged for the first time Saturday.

The U.N. and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said “important progress” has been made on eliminating Syria’s banned weapons, but called on President Bashar Assad’s government to “intensify efforts” to meet internationally set deadlines.

The year-end deadline was the first key milestone under a U.N. Security Council-backed deal arranged by Russia and the United States that aims to wipe out all of Syria’s chemical arms by the middle of 2014.

Syria’s worsening civil war, logistical problems and bad weather had held up the operation to move chemical agents to the port of Latakia, the two bodies said.