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Syria eyes end of chemical arms monitoring mission; West disagrees

By Louis Charbonneau UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Syria declared on Wednesday that it was looking ahead to the dismantling of the international mission overseeing the destruction of the conflict-torn country's chemical arsenal, though Western officials said they want the team to keep working.

Syria's chemical weapons wild card: chlorine gas

By Oliver Holmes BEIRUT (Reuters) - Chlorine gas attacks in Syria this month, if proven, expose a major loophole in an international deal to remove chemical weapons from the war-torn country and suggest chemical warfare could persist after the removal operation has finished.

Key dates since Syria's 2013 chemical attack

Here is a timeline of the main events since chemical weapons attacks near Damascus on August 21, 2013: -- AUGUST 2013 -- - 21: Syrian troops launch an offensive in the Damascus suburbs. The opposition accuses the army of chemical weapons strikes east and southwest of the capital, including in Moadamiyet al-Sham where hundreds are killed. The government denies any responsibility and blames rebels.

Syria chemical disarmament gathers pace as new claims emerge

The chemical weapons watchdog said Tuesday that Syria has handed over 86.5 percent of its arsenal as new claims emerged of an attack on a rebel bastion this month using an industrial chemical. Under the terms of a US- and Russian-brokered deal which averted the threat of US military action last year, Syria faces a June 30 deadline to destroy its chemical stockpiles.

Syria chemical handover at 86.5 percent

Syria has handed over 86.5 percent of its chemical weapons, the global chemical watchdog said on Tuesday, amid new claims that Damascus may have launched attacks with an industrial chemical earlier this month. The latest update comes five days before a self-imposed cut-off of April 27, by which Damascus aimed to have its stockpile removed from Syrian soil, ahead of a June 30 deadline to destroy it.

Israel says Kerry remarks on Iran nuclear threshold 'not acceptable'

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel described as "unacceptable" on Monday remarks by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry suggesting cautious openness to negotiating a nuclear deal that would keep Iran six to 12 months away from bomb-making capability. "In the past, and also recently, what we heard from the Americans, including publicly, and from the Europeans and even from the Russians, was that Iran must be distanced years - not months but years - from nuclear weaponry," said Yuval Steinitz, the Israeli cabinet minister in charge of nuclear affairs.

Ship ready to destroy Syria's chemical arms at sea

By Fiona Ortiz ON BOARD THE CAPE RAY, Spain (Reuters) - Experts on board a cargo ship transformed into a multi-million dollar chemical weapons destroyer said on Thursday they were ready to start working on Syria's stock of toxic arms in the middle of the Mediterranean as early as May. Now they just have to hope the weather holds and Damascus delivers on time.

Next round of Iran nuclear talks to begin May 13

VIENNA (Reuters) - Iran and six major powers will begin a new round of negotiations in Vienna on May 13 to hammer out a long-term accord aimed at curbing Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, a Western diplomat said on Wednesday. The diplomat, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, was in Vienna for a two-day negotiating session, the third in Vienna this year, during which participants said all important issues were discussed by U.S., British, French, Germany, Russian, Chinese and Iranian officials.

Iran nuclear talks to 'move to next stage' in May

Nuclear talks between Iran and world powers on negotiating a definitive agreement will in May "move to the next stage", EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Wednesday after a meeting in Vienna. "We now move to the next stage of the negotiations in which we will aim to bridge the gaps in all the key areas and work on the concrete elements of a possible comprehensive agreement," Ashton told reporters in a joint statement with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. stu/cc

Russia has no high expectations for upcoming Iran nuclear talks: report

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia has no special expectations for the next round of nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was quoted as saying on Monday. Speaking before high-level talks in Vienna on April 8-9, Ryabkov said talks on a number of issues were still in early stages and that the meeting should produce a basis for further talks, according to the Itar-Tass news agency. (Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska, editing by Elizabeth Piper)
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