United States offers to destroy Syria’s Priority Chemicals

OPCW receives expressions of interest from 35 private companies to destroy other Syrian chemicals

In a statement to the OPCW Executive Council on Friday 29 November 2013, Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü announced that the United States has offered to contribute a destruction technology, full operational support and financing to neutralise Syria’s priority chemicals, which are to be removed from the country by 31 December.

The Director-General stated that the neutralisation operations will be conducted on a U.S. vessel at sea using hydrolysis. Currently a suitable naval vessel is undergoing modifications to support the operations and to accommodate verification activities by the OPCW.

Regarding the destruction of Syria’s inventory of other chemicals, including common industrial ones - which constitute a significant part of Syria’s declaration - the Director-General said the OPCW has to date received 35 expressions of interest (EOI) from commercial companies, which will now undergo evaluation. This number may change during the tender process, he noted, stressing that the OPCW “is at the preliminary stage of ascertaining the availability of suitable candidate companies.”

The companies bidding for participation in the disposal process will be required to comply with all applicable international and national regulations pertaining to safety and the environment.

With the regard to the special Trust Fund which the OPCW has established for the destruction activities to be done by private companies, the Director-General encouraged States Parties to make their contributions.

”Before we can launch any tender process we must be certain that we have sufficient funds available to meet the costs of destruction,” the Director-General stated. He invited Member States to also consider providing in-kind contributions by contracting companies to conduct destruction activities.