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Syria has relinquished about a third of its chemical weapons: OPCW

By Anthony Deutsch AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Syria has shipped out about a third of its chemical weapons stockpile, including mustard gas, for destruction abroad, the global chemical arms watchdog said on Tuesday. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague said Damascus had now handed over six consignments of the toxic agents it declared to the OPCW as part of a Russian-U.S. deal struck last year.

Syria says two attempted attacks on chemical weapons convoys: U.N.

By Michelle Nichols and Louis Charbonneau UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - There were two attempted attacks on Syrian convoys transporting chemical weapons late last month, Syrian authorities told the international mission overseeing the removal and destruction of its toxic arsenal, according to a U.N. report on Thursday.

Mustard gas shipped out of Syria, official says

Sulphur mustard, popularly known as "mustard gas," was shipped out of Syria in line with a plan to remove chemical weapons stockpiles in the country, it was announced Wednesday. "I welcome this shipment as an important step in the elimination of the Syrian Arab Republic's chemical weapons program," Sigrid Kaag, the head of a joint mission between the U.N. and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, said in a press release.

Syria chemical shipment plan faces major delay

Syria has told an international chemical watchdog that the completion of an ongoing program to ship chemical materials out of the country could be delayed several months, a source familiar with the matter said Thursday. Syria may miss the June 30 deadline to eliminate its entire chemical weapons under the program which is already running behind schedule, according to the source. The project is supervised by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Syria chemical shipment plan faces major delay

Syria has told an international chemical watchdog that the completion of an ongoing program to ship chemical materials out of the country could be delayed several months, a source familiar with the matter said Thursday. Syria may miss the June 30 deadline to eliminate its entire chemical weapons under the program which is already running behind schedule, according to the source. The project is supervised by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Iran says agreed on topics for next nuclear talks

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Thursday that Iran has reached an agreement with world powers on what would be discussed in nuclear talks to be held next month. Zarif wrote on his Facebook page that he and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton "agreed on the topics of discussion for the next round... as well as the expert-level (meeting)" during the current round of talks in Geneva. "We also agreed to hold several meetings on a monthly basis until late May, including expert-level talks to discuss the various issues of the agenda," Zarif added.

Next Iran nuclear talks March 17

Iran and world powers have agreed a timetable and framework agreement for working out a lasting nuclear accord, and will meet again on March 17, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Thursday. "We had three very productive days during which we have identified all the issues we need to address to reach a comprehensive and final agreement," Ashton said after talks in the Austrian capital. "There is a lot to do, it won't be easy but we have made a good start," Ashton told reporters.

Iran nuclear talks start in Vienna

Iran and six world powers began talks on Tuesday on transforming their interim nuclear deal into a permanent accord, a senior US State Department official said. The scheduled three-day meeting in Vienna between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany is expected to be the first in a series of encounters in the coming months. stu/mfp

Finnish, US companies to destroy Syria chemicals

The global chemical arms watchdog said Friday it has chosen two US and Finnish companies to help destroy Syria's chemical arsenal as part of an ambitious plan that has suffered a string of setbacks. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said Finland's Ekokem would destroy chemical weapon ingredients as well as some effluent left over from destruction activities aboard a US ship.

Syria slams EU plan to use frozen funds for disarmament

Syria's foreign ministry has slammed a plan by the EU to use funds frozen under the organisation's sanctions to pay for the dismantling of Damascus's chemical weapons programme. A source at the ministry, quoted late Tuesday by Syrian state news agency SANA, described the plan as "a flagrant violation of international law". The source added that the ministry considered the EU move a bid to "evade international commitments to fund the operation to destroy Syria's chemical weapons," SANA said.
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