Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Ban appoints Sigrid Kaag to head up joint OPCW-UN mission in Syria
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who has already lead many a press conference on the events surrounding the chemical weapons in Syria, has appointed Sigrid Kaag to be the Special Coordinator for the new joint mission to oversee the destruction of the stockpiles of chemical weapons in Syria and the production facilities. Previously, Kaag worded for UNICEF. This joint mission is between the OPCW, Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and the United Nations.
According to Mr. Ban, Sigrid Kaag’s role will be to watch over all ground activities undertake by the OPCW and the United Nations. She will be located in Cyprus, which will also be the location of the staging area and support base for the joint mission. She will make sure that the OPCW inspectors are secure and will provide logistical, communications, and medical support. Most importantly, she will coordinate the elimination of the chemical weapons program in Syria.
According to the OPCW and the UN, this joint mission was established to achieve the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons program in a timely fashion in the safest way possible. According to the UN it has “not lost sight for one moment of the wider tragedy that is still destroying Syria” and says that it is as focused on reaching a political solution as it is on stopping the violence and unrest in Syria.
UN spokeperson Martin Nesirky says that, to date, the joint mission has conducted verification activities at a total of eleven sites. It has also oversay the destruction of equipment at six sites. These numbers are promising and will hopefully increase as the mission hits its stride.
The elimination of the chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria was the next logical step in returning the country to a state of peace. Hopefully, the destruction of these weapons will allow Syria to return to the state it was in before this calamity and will improve the conditions in Syria as well as the rest of the middle east.