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As US Proposes to Off-Shore Syrian Chemical Weapons, Where Is UN's Trust Fund?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 30 -- After even countries pressured by the United States like Albania decided they could not host the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons, now the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons has 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... Currently a suitable naval vessel is undergoing modifications to support the operations and to accommodate verification activities by the OPCW."

   If the ship is already "undergoing modifications," the plan is far along. But will it be US government personnel doing the destruction? Or some outside contractor yet to be announced?

  The OPCW itself has acknowledged it has procurement rules; it has referred to its chemical weapons trust fund. Inner City Press again on November 29 asked Ban Ki-moon's spokespeople where and when the information about the UN's trust fund will be published, a question still not answered.

  When Sigrid Kaag took questions at the UN in New York on November 5, Inner City Press asked her about the trust fund and she said it was important, it would be soon. Video here, from Minute 3:16. So where is it?

  Meanwhile, the UN on November 29 did confirm to Inner City Press what the Swedish government first announced: a further delay in Ake Sellstom's second chemical weapons report, including on Khan al-Asal, to December 13 (or as the UN puts it, "mid December" after having said "late October" then "early December"). Click here for that.

  The OPCW trust fund concludes that Director General Ahmet Üzümcü "invited Member States to also consider providing in-kind contributions by contracting companies to conduct destruction activities." Contributions BY contracting companies? Or TO these for-profit companies? Watch this site.


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